Russ Campbell lives in metro Birmingham. He’s a lawyer who represents football coaches. One of his clients is Bobby Petrino.
When Petrino went back to campus, when he left the Atlanta Falcons for the University of Arkansas, when he boarded an airplane as a traitor and landed as a savior, it seemed like deja vu all over again to Campbell.
He’d seen that movie before – when it starred Nick Saban.
“There is a great deal of similarity,” Campbell said.
As the attorney and his client faced the latest in a series of career decisions for Petrino, Campbell brought some background to their soul-searching discussions.
Campbell knew Petrino would be demonized in Atlanta and beyond for leaving the Falcons with three games left in the 2007 NFL season. He knew it because he’d seen Saban fitted for horns when he left the Miami Dolphins after two full seasons for Alabama.
If that wasn’t exactly inside information, Campbell understood the other side of the coin on a gut level. Atlanta might want to hang Petrino, but Arkansas could take that noose and turn it into a halo.