- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2009

STERLING, Va. | Following two attempts by his team to replace him in less than a month, quarterback Jason Campbell said he and the Washington Redskins are in an “awkward situation.”

“One thing I was kind of upset about, it makes you feel like you’re a bad quarterback and not wanted,” Campbell said Monday before a charity golf tournament he hosted to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “But at the same time, it makes you a stronger person and a stronger quarterback.”

The Redskins early this month unsuccessfully tried to trade for former Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. On Saturday, the club wanted to trade up in the draft to select Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez but didn’t have the assets to make the move.

Campbell declined to say whether he would have requested a trade had Sanchez been acquired but did say he talked with agent Joel Segal about his options.

Sanchez was picked by the New York Jets, who traded up to the No. 5 spot to get him.

“There were certain things we discussed, but nothing was written in stone,” Campbell said.

Campbell became aware of his club’s pursuit of Sanchez on Thursday and turned his phone off during the first part of the draft Saturday, opting for a silent response.

“If I was to act rebellious, it would only make the situation worse and it would affect a lot of people,” he said.

Campbell was disappointed by his club’s efforts to acquire Cutler, but had a deal been reached he at least could have taken some comfort in knowing he had been replaced by a Pro Bowl quarterback.

In Sanchez, the Redskins were infatuated with a quarterback with no NFL experience and only one season as a starter at the college level.

“That was a little bit of a shock, definitely, because we made some progress last season,” Campbell said.

But not enough for owner Dan Snyder. Campbell played a big part in the Redskins’ 6-2 start, but his numbers tailed off during a 2-6 finish.

When the Cutler trade failed to materialize, Campbell met with Snyder, executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato and coach Jim Zorn to settle lingering discontent.

Then the Sanchez drama began.

“I don’t know how much of that was true,” Campbell said of the Sanchez talks. “Through the whole thing, I didn’t know what was going on and what wasn’t going on. My mindset was to be prepared for both scenarios.

“I’m not going to hold any grudges. That’s not fair to my teammates and not fair to the people who support me. I’m ready to move forward and have one of my best years.”

Campbell won’t be worried about his focus during this weekend’s minicamp.

“It won’t be hard because my whole mindset is moving because the guys on the field are counting on me to do my job to the best of my ability,” he said. “Who knows? Going through something like this may bring us closer together as a unit and make us work that much harder and make a lot more happen.”

Campbell has one year remaining on his contract, and he said Snyder’s desire to trade him hasn’t affected his desire to re-sign with the team.

“Having a great year and then sitting down at the end of the year or whenever they want to sit down, that’s when we’ll discuss those things,” he said. “Before I even get to that point, we have to produce this season, put up great numbers and have a great year.”

The respect accorded to Campbell in the locker room was exhibited at the golf tournament at Lowes Island Club he inherited from former Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell. More than 20 players attended the event, which organizers hoped would raise $200,000, up from $150,000 last year.

Left guard Derrick Dockery said he doesn’t expect the drama to be a distraction for Campbell.

“I thought he handled everything pretty well the whole month,” Dockery said. “I’m sure it was a roller coaster for him, but he was professional in the way he conducted himself.”

Another veteran said a trade for Sanchez would have been received negatively in a locker room that includes many players older than 30 who are not interested in a rebuilding project.

“A new guy and we would have had to start from square one - again,” one veteran said. “He could have come here and been a great quarterback, but we’re glad it didn’t happen. We’re glad Jason is still our guy.”

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