Some partnerships just make too much sense not to happen.
When Green Bay Packers inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell burst into the scene in 2021 with an All-Pro season, opportunities arose for him that were previously unavailable.
One of those was partnering with Campbell’s Chunky Soup. It’s a pairing made in heaven when the athlete’s name matches that of the company they’re working with but this is a venture that goes much beyond a simple name game.
Campbell and Campbell’s Chunky Soup teamed up to donate 5,000 meals to Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay last week as part of the Chunky Sacks Hunger program. The program tackles hunger in the United States which affects nearly 34 million people. The Packers are one of 11 NFL teams Campbell’s has partnered with to host events in their communities.
Campbell’s will also donate an additional 25 products for each tackle the Packers make this season up to 25,000 products. That makes over 7,700 products donated so far.
In an interview with APC, Campbell the linebacker says, the pairing is meaningful on multiple levels. “To be honest, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “I just remember being little watching the Donovan McNabb commercials with his mom and I was like ‘that’s a lifetime goal of mine to create a partnership with Campbell’s.’”
Judging by Campbell’s big season a year ago, it seemed very possible that a big donation was in store. It was a season Campbell said he knew could happen but didn’t think it would go the way it did. “There are guarantees in football, every year is different, every game is different,” he said. “You just kind of try to approach it with the best mindset and do the best you can.”
“This year is a little bit different,” he added.
Campbell speaks the truth.
2022 has been a slog for the 3-4 Packers right now and Campbell was having a rough go of things as well before his big game Sunday against the Washington Commanders including a spectacular interception he returned for a touchdown and was all over the field.
If he snuck up on offenses a season ago, that element of surprise has since disappeared.
“I guess you could say I’m (not) under the radar anymore,” Campbell said. “Teams are keying on me a little bit more.” It’s the challenge every player has following a breakout season: finding a way to adapt and keep the opponent guessing.
The Packers meanwhile find their backs squarely against the wall and while they dropped yet another game since we spoke with Campbell, the All-Pro’s words still ring true. “I’ve seen some crazy things happen in this league. We just have to stick together and keep pressing forward,” he said. “The sky’s the limit for what we can accomplish.”
Yet for all the optimism, Campbell says the Packers have to be realistic about who they are during a season that is seeing a number of supposed contenders struggle. “There are a lot of good teams struggling this year, not just us,” he said. “We understand where we are, we have to be honest about it and the beautiful part is completely on us to make the changes and get better.”
Green Bay’s struggles are all the more surprising given how they cruised to home-field advantage the past two seasons and they’re a team that isn’t used to handling sustained adversity. That can be a humbling experience but also an educational one.
Campbell says this medicine that the Packers have to swallow. “Everyone needs adversity. Everything can’t be cupcakes and rainbows,” he commented. “At this point, we’re in a rough patch and we have a lot of outside noise but none of that matters. The only thing that matters is the guys in the locker room.”
It’s a locker room that has seen struggles across all three phases but it’s the offense that is currently the focus of the ire of many fans. It’s a stark change from most of the Aaron Rodgers era where the offense has had to carry the defense but Campbell says it’s a challenge the defense embraces.
“The biggest thing we can do is create extra possessions,” he said. “I feel like we have the greatest quarterback of all time. The more we can give him the football, the better it will get.”
“Our offense will be just fine,” Campbell added. “I’ve been around long enough to understand that rough patches happen. I’ve been part of teams where when we lose and I’m like ‘there’s nothing we can do about that. We just weren’t the better team.’ Every loss we’ve had this season has been things that we can control and they’re correctable.”
For Campbell’s part at least it looks like he’s corrected his mistakes and hopefully that can spread to the rest of the Green Bay defense.
If it does, the All-Pro will soup up his teammates and Campbell’s Chunky will be donating many more meals to Paul’s Pantry in the near future.