Canadian defensive back Tevaughn Campbell earned the right to high step like Deion Sanders into the end zone with his first interception and touchdown in the NFL.
Campbell grew up in Scarborough, Ont. dreaming of making plays on Sundays. Picking off former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco made it a reality and displayed his potential as an NFL defensive back. The impact play was part of the Los Angeles Chargers 34-28 victory over the New York Jets in Week 11.
“It was awesome. I actually fell on that snap, so I got up and we were all cheering. I had no idea it was a pick-six. It was very exciting. He’s been having a good year, been doing everything right in practice, and it’s great to see it pay off,” star defensive end Joey Bosa said during a video conference.
Head coach Anthony Lynn felt it was the best game of Campbell’s NFL career so far. Campbell recorded four tackles (three solo) and defended two passes — one on four-and-nine with under two minutes remaining with the game on the line — to go along with his pick-six. Campbell has been playing slot corner for the Chargers in place of injured veteran Chris Harris.
“The pick-six was huge, that’s what we needed from our defence. Kudos to Tevaughn. He did a hell of a job,” Lynn said during a video conference.
“This young man is just getting better every single game. He hadn’t played a lot of American football, so I like what he’s doing.”
The University of Regina product ran a CFL combine record 4.35 electronic 40-yard time in 2015. That proved his explosive athletic ability, however, Campbell wasn’t picked until the third round, 22nd overall in the CFL draft. He played four seasons in the three-down league with Calgary (2015), Saskatchewan (2016-2017), and Montreal (2017-2018).
“I definitely had a dream and that was to get to the NFL. I spent four years in the CFL trying to pursue that dream and thank God I made it here,” Campbell said during a video conference.
The six-foot, 200-pound former member of Canada’s national rugby sevens team signed a contract with the Jets in January 2019. He was waived following training camp and the Chargers added him to the practice squad less than two weeks later.
“It’s been great, especially coming from the Jets last year and fitting in with the team so well, and fitting in with the guys, and the guys taking me under their wing, it was a great spot,” Campbell said.
The 27-year-old appeared in two games with Los Angeles last season, though he failed to register any statistics. That’s changed in 2020 as Campbell’s suited up for eight games, making 13 tackles, eight solo, knocked down two passes, forced one fumble and scored the first pick-six of his career.
“Just the more football he plays, the better his football instincts are going to be and you’re going to see him make more of those plays,” Lynn said.
“There has been a lot defensive backs that played in the Canadian Football League that come back and play in our league that start. They’re good players.”
Even when Harris, the one-time All-Pro and Super Bowl champion, returns in Week 12, Lynn assured Campbell will be on the field. The 51-year-old Lynn is known to take a liking to hard-working players and Campbell is one of those athletes who does it in a quiet way.
“Just to go out there and play,” Campbell said, “and compete at the highest level, feels great.”