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Why it meant so much to Zach Harrison when Calais Campbell reached out

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga -- Like any rookie coming into the league, much of Zach Harrison's first season will be spent learning alongside the veterans.

Sounds like the Ohio State edge rusher will have a good teacher.


On NFL Draft night, after Harrison was selected in the third round, Calais Campbell followed Harrison on Twitter, eventually sending him a DM.

That was a dream come true for Harrison, who called Campbell a "legend, one of the greatest to ever do it."

After Campbell reached out Harrison recalls thinking "Oh, I'm in the league, that's my teammate now."

Learning from a longtime star in Campbell, who has produced at the highest level, can do nothing but help Harrison.

Harrison says Campbell told him, "I have a lot of knowledge in this game and if you want it, it's yours."

Campbell told no tales there, as the 36-year-old defensive lineman has been in the league for a long time. 15 years to be exact, playing with playoff- and championship-caliber teams in his time. Campbell has as great an individual success as you can ask for. He's a six-time Pro Bowler, a first-team All-Pro selection and two-time second-team All-Pro honoree, amongst other accolades.

Harrison says that he is coming into the season with no expectations. His focus coming in is on in learning and working hard, hopeful that he can translate that recipe to success. He has all the tools to succeed.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound edge rusher out of Ohio State has spent his whole athletic life ranked near the top. Harrison was five-star recruit out of high school, went on to Ohio State University and was a third-round pick in the draft.

He has great potential but must continue to develop.

He will have no shortage of opportunities to learn.

Harrison says his hope is to learn "everything from how to be a pro, to how to navigate life off the field... On the field speaks for itself, All-Pro caliber guys doing it at the highest level, learning how they operate on the field, have somebody to help me through this next level of my life."

Falcons fans should be hopeful, as Harrison will have the opportunity to learn from one of the best. Maybe one day, in Year 15, Harrison will be passing down the same knowledge that he will have had the opportunity to soak up in his rookie season.

Take a look at the Atlanta Falcons rookies in action during the 2023 rookie minicamp.

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