Baker Mayfield looked right at home in an episode of The Office when he noticed offensive line coach James Campen kissing and/or sniffing a football.
Campen leaned against the goalpost and gave the pigskin a smooch before a recent preseason game. Mayfield and fellow quarterback Sam Darnold looked on in disbelief.
Mayfield was asked if he had been aware of Campen’s affinity for the fine scent of leather. Not only was he aware, he knew the backstory.
“I asked him about it, he said he’s been kissing the laces ever since high school,” Mayfield said,
“Interesting strategy, yeah,” Mayfield deadpanned straight into the camera. That sure seemed like some acting that would’ve been right at home on The Office (the less-good later seasons of the American version. Not the superior British one. David Brent ’till I die).
Campen has been planting his lips on footballs for decades now. You’ve got to love that dedication to a pregame ritual. Sure, he has probably gotten some sideways looks, but what he does with footballs before games is between him and the football.
No judgment from the outside world or Baker Mayfield can get James Campen to stop lovin’ on those laces.
Campen’s pregame exploits immediately made me think of former LSU head coach Les Miles’ methods of becoming one with the game.
It’s got to be hard for players and coaches to break these habits, even after reaching a point in your career where there are cameras and judging eyes everywhere, no matter how weird or gross they may be.
Right, German soccer coach Joachim Löw?
Mayfield, Campen, and the Panthers will take on the quarterback’s old team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1.
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