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Calais Campbell had an excellent 2011 season for the Arizona Cardinals.

In his fourth season out of Miami, the 6'8" defensive end tallied a career-high 8 sacks to go along with 72 tackles. He blocked a few field goals, too, and became the player the Cardinals envisioned he'd be when they selected him in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

A free agent, Campbell is about to get paid, and Cardinals GM Rod Graves said they'll be the ones writing the checks.

"Calais will be with us, rest assured," Graves told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf as part of Newsmakers Week. "With that, we'll try to continue to focus on trying to get a long-term deal in place, but it will be a process that we're undergoing.

"He will be an Arizona Cardinal player this year and we're hoping certainly to extend that into a long-term deal."

So, while a deal is not necessarily imminent, Graves implied the team would use its franchise tag on the lineman if need be.

And, from what Graves said, it appears the player has no interest in leaving the Valley.

"I saw Calais, as a matter of fact, down working out [Thursday] in the weight room, so he's excited, focused about continuing on and just helping our football team become a championship team," Graves added.

This should be music to any Cards fan's ears, because while the team has had a habit of letting talented players leave in free agency, they've also done a good job of retaining the guys they deem to be "core players."

Campbell is obviously one of those, and it appears he'll be around for a long time.

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