Former NFL defensive end Joe Campbell has died at the age of 68, his brother, Patrick, confirmed to DelawareOnline.com.
Campbell, who celebrated his birthday on July 9, is suspected to have suffered a cardiac arrest after going on a hike, according to his brother. The Wilmington native played in the NFL for five seasons, which included splitting the 1980 season between the New Orleans Saints and then-Oakland Raiders during the latter's Super Bowl XV run, appearing in 10 regular season and four playoff games for the eventual Super Bowl champions.
Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, who was Campbell's former teammate on the Raiders, paid tribute to the former defensive end in a tweet shared on Thursday (July 14).
"A teammate I was blessed to play and win with. Joe, RIP Brother," Owens wrote.
Campbell, a member of the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, led Salesianum School to a state championship in 1972.
“Everybody looked up to him,” longtime friend and former Sallies teammate Dennis Kelly told DelawareOnline.com. “Everybody loves a winner, and Joe crossed that threshold into being a pro athlete.”
Campbell went on to have a decorated collegiate career at Maryland, which included being selected as a consensus All-American in 1976.
“Great football player and he was a great guy, too,” said College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy White, who was Campbell's teammate at Maryland, via DelawareOnline.com. “You get news like this, it sets you back. … I’ll remember him as a long, lean guy from Delaware who came in there and dominated at that defensive end position.”