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Day 9 Blog

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    <span style="">Strained muscles, joint pain, throbbing fingers, blisters, as well as general aches and pains hamper each player at this point of camp. Remember the guidelines I laid out in an earlier blog?   

You can pick out any player and they'll tell you at least one body part that's bothering them now. Even with the feet and toes toughening process, blisters still find a way to attach to your feet like leeches. I'm not talking about the "new shoes" kind of blisters. These are the kinds that look like craters on the moon right under your big toe.

Seriously, we have to be careful with these babies. Blisters can change our running form as we rotate our feet to relieve pressure. When you run differently, the possibility of straining your hips or lower back increase. Through my extensive research, there has to be a balancing act. I raise my big toe when walking or when I can think about it while playing or in between drills. That is a way to avoid the pain. Unfortunately, I can't do this while actively playing. During a play or exercising, I have to suck it up and face the fact that blisters will hurt. Football is enjoyable, but it's still a game of who's the toughest. That my friends is the bottom line.

No matter who you are, if you're not tough, you're never going to make it in the NFL. There are all different kinds of toughness but it's all categorized as toughness.

I know what you're thinking. 'You're saying your punter, Steve Weatherford, is tough?'

Yes. He is tough.

He deals with mental toughness. When it's 4th down and we're jammed up on our 1 yard line, we need Weatherford to be tough-minded to get a great punt off when the pressure is on. We're very fortunate to have our punter, but I'm sure you've seen, plenty of punters who have choked and shanked one twelve yards and out of bounds. As for the rest of us, we deal with toughness on every play. Believe me when I tell you there's been times after being hit I thought I was in bed telling my mom I didn't want to go to school.

I had no idea where I was.

It's pretty scary. I ran a route and DB Rasheed Mathis from Jacksonville absolutely crushed me. The hit was #1 on ESPN's "Jacked Up". The show has the top 10 hits of the week. I'm not proud of this, but it is what it is. Everything immediately turned to a dull yellow. A teammate came to me to ask if I was all right. I do remember looking at him, but in my state, I didn't see it necessary to respond to him as I sat on the field.

This example, for instance, proves toughness as I got back out there later and ran the same route, realizing I could be hit like that again. Mental and physical toughness are equally important.

In other news, we are looking forward to family day on Saturday. I know many people from players to staff, can't wait to see their loved ones. Like I wrote earlier, camp is like dog years. Meaning, it seems a lot longer than it is. I haven't seen my family in ten days, which feels like a couple of months.

Another reason I'm excited about Saturday is our rookie show. On other teams this has a no holds barred rip fest. The rookies could make any skit about any player or coach and make fun of them. It's their release from being treated so badly. It was definitely not a PG rating. With our families there, it obviously can't be as aggressive. I think wives would be offended and think of it as totally inappropriate. We're a team though and we cannot only laugh at each other, but also ourselves. It's these moments that retired players and coaches miss when you leave the game. We are fortunate to have an extended family with this team. Whether it be white, black, red or blue. This is a great sign of unity. To be champions, unity is a must because without it, you don't even have a chance. Good luck at the Family Day ROOKIES!!!

For a complete listing of Mark Campbell's blogs, simply click here or go to the "News" tab on the home page of NewOrleansSaints.com!

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