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Redskins Trade Campbell to Raiders For 2012 Draft Pick

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Wish Jason Campbell luck in Oakland. He never had any here.

The Redskins traded their one-time quarterback of the future for Saturday as the NFL Draft unfolded and the emphasis became evermore on tomorrow and less on yesterday.

Campbell, who started every game at quarterback for the Redskins over the last two seasons, was dealt to the Raiders for a fourth-round pick in 2012.

Goodbye and good luck.

"It has been a long weekend, most definitely," Campbell told NFL Network. And a long few years.

Make no mistake, Campbell is a fine, young man who may yet make his mark in the NFL. Too much augured against him with the Redskins, ever since the club traded back into the first round of the 2005 draft to get him.

In five seasons, he played for two head coaches and never got a chance from the third. The one who selected him, Joe Gibbs, didn't let him take a snap in his first 25 games.

Gibbs left and Jim Zorn took over in 2008, emphasizing his "system" above all else. Campbell never looked comfortable in Zorn's version of the West Coast offense and production began to dwindle midway through the '08 season.

The end-of-time scenario began more than a year ago when the Redskins flung themselves into the pursuit of Jay Cutler. They tried to trade Campbell for a high enough draft choice to bid against the Chicago Bears and others for Cutler, who reacted badly when he learned that his new coach in Denver, Josh McDaniels, craved Matt Cassel's company.

Having failed in that pursuit, the Redskins then eyed a move up in the '09 draft to get Mark Sanchez. The New York Jets pulled off that deal with the Cleveland Browns and the Redskins found no other options because Campbell could not be moved.

He could, however, be sacked. As the 2009 season unwound and the Redskins' line and entire offensive approach crumbled, Campbell spent most of his time picking himself up off the ground. When Zorn was fired and Mike Shanahan stepped in, an exit seemed almost assured.

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The Redskins then traded on Easter Sunday for Donovan McNabb. No one wondered about the role the Redskins planned for the six-time Pro Bowler who had led the Philadelphia Eagles to five NFC title games and one Super Bowl since joining them in 1999.

That followed the free-agent signing of Rex Grossman, himself a former Super Bowl quarterback, and a veteran of one season with Houston under Kyle Shanahan, then the Texans' offensive coordinator and now the Redskins'.

Mike Shanahan and Campbell met for lunch one recent afternoon and at that point let it be known they'd given Campbell's agent the opportunity to seek a trade. Think of that as the condemned man's last meal.

By Saturday morning, Campbell and his agent, Joel Segal, believed he would be on his way to Oakland. A few hours later, the deal was finalized and Campbell got a contract extension through 2011.

Ironic, no? Just as the Redskins begin to show signs of the stability that a quarterback requires to succeed, Campbell departs for Oakland, loser of 11 games or more every season since 2002.

There he will compete with the underachieving (and overweight) JaMarcus Russell, who was the overall No. 1 pick in 2007, and journeyman Bruce Gradkowski, who is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.

Campbell told NFL Network he had spoken with Raiders owner Al Davis, coach Tom Cable and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and "I feel like I'm going to be the starter, from talking to them."

Much was made over the myriad systems and coaches Campbell played in and under through his four years at Auburn and then through five with the Redskins. Jackson, with the Raiders, will be his eighth offensive coordinator in 10 years, Campbell said.

With the Redskins, Gibbs brought in Al Saunders to run the passing game and Saunders never seemed to be a fan of Campbell's.

Last year, a month into a season fraught with failures around the goal line, Zorn lost his play-calling duties to a newly-hired consultant, Sherman Lewis. Confusion reigned as Lewis called pass plays, offensive coordinator Sherman Smith called running plays and Zorn offered his input in two-minute situations and goal-line sets.

That's not a recipe for failure, it is a full boiling pot of nauseating goo.

In some ways, Campbell, 28, had his chances. In most ways, he never had a chance. His statistics got better every season but the Redskins did not.

When they made their playoff run in 2007, he was out with a knee injury and Todd Collins engineered the victories that carried the team to a 9-7 finish and a wild-card berth.

In four seasons in Washington, Campbell completed 1,002-of-1,637 passes—a 61.2 completion percentage—for 10,860 yards, 55 TDs and 38 interceptions. He also posted 786 career rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 153 attempts.

As a starter, he holds a record of 20-32. Over the last two years: 12-20. Over the last 24 games: 6-18. He endured 81 sacks in Zorn's two years here.

He leaves, to learn (again) a new offense and new coaches. He gets to start over and start again.

The Redskins? Well, they're all about fresh starts and starting over, bound less and less to the recent past and the old cast of characters.


Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for Redskins.com and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at Redskinsrule.com and follow him on Twitter.com/LarryWeisman.

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