We all know Jason Campbell's career has been rife with injuries, unfortunate accidents, many bad coaches, the Raiders organization, Jim Zorn, the Bears offensive line and now, an exile to Cleveland. But, no one really knows why a well-liked former college football star has had a rain cloud following him. Until now.
Recently discovered was a book found buried under Toomer's Corner. Archaeologists initially pegged the Girl Tech Password Journal, covered in Lisa Frank unicorn and dolphin stickers, as Harvey Updyke's confessions. When experts were finally able to crack the lock, they found an encrypted language unlike anything they had ever seen. This was the work of a genius. There was only one identifying mark at the end of the book: JC 17.
While initially pursuing the Illuminati angle, researcher Paul Finebaum had a vision.
"JC. 17. JC. 17. War Damn Eagle. That's it. I've finally done it. The museum will be ever so pleased."
It was, in fact, Jason Campbell's secret diary. It took SEC officials, the NCAA (who was convinced the book was a recruiting violation), the New York Public Library and Nick Saban years to decode the intricate web of symbols and images until it was finally readable.
What follows are brief excerpts.
SEPT. 15, 2004 – Today started normally. I was taking a stroll to clear my head as I wrangled with Proust's aesthetic theory. The leaves are starting to change. Earlier than normal this year. It is as if all at once the world dies and is reborn again and we are destined to maintain that cycle. Long nights are longer than I am accustomed to. It is lonely here. Lonelier still. I found a park bench and decided to rest. [TRANSLATION UNKNOWN]
I wasn't sure what to make of the worn down, decrepit storefront. The sign was dusty and unintelligible. I knocked first to no reply. Another knock and the door creaked open. I gave salutations into the dark, musty room. They lofted into the air before falling into silence. Another hello, and I was ready to leave. I had no intentions of remaining, disturbing whatever evil was here.
A light switch flicked on. All at once florescent beams flooded the room, transforming it. An old man was standing behind a cash register. Trinkets of which I hadn't seen since my travels to the Brick Lane Market lined the walls and shelves.
"Can I help you?" he asked. "Perhaps, you are looking for your destiny."
It seemed odd, but he must have seen the struggles on my furrowed brow. I have never been one to wear my emotions on my sleeve, although my poker face left something to be desired.
"Just passing through. I did not realize you were open. Inquisitive, I suppose."
"Well, by all means, I believe I have the piece for you."
The man, wearing a tattered Auburn hooded sweatshirt and Wrangler jeans, went into the back room. He returned with a black box covered in symbols and detailed calligraphy.
"This is here. It has always been here. Waiting for you. I knew this day would come. Inside lies your future. But you mustn't open it. It shall remain closed forever."
I wasn't sure what to make of this. But, the shopkeep seemed to be an Auburn fan. I could trust him.
[MULTIPLE PAGES MISSING]
DECEMBER 5, 2004 – It has been a marvelous day. The pigskin and I were one as we defeated the Volunteers. What a day! Huzzah! I have never played this way before. Ever since the mysterious black box was given to me by the elder Tigers fan, I have felt new energy. It is tremendous. My future is brighter than I could have ever imagined.
[MULTIPLE PAGES MISSING]
NOVEMBER 2, 2008 – I couldn't resist myself. I had to see what was inside the box. It was calling to me, as if in a dream. I've waited long enough. Things are going so incredibly well. I carefully took the box out of the safe I had been keeping it in, along with extra funds and my passport. The box looked new. There was no way of knowing how old it truly was. When I held it up, I swore I could feel the wind blowing. Must have been a draft.
There was an incredibly forceful amount of resistance as I tried to unlatch and open the wooden container. I finally got it to open, slowly, hoping my eyes would not deceive me in this ever so important time.
There was nothing inside. The shopkeep must have played a joke on me. I put the box back in the safe and forgot about it.
[YET AGAIN A BATCH OF PAGES APPEARS TO BE MISSING]
APRIL 6, 2009 – I don't understand. I can't place this feeling inside. It started slowly. I have felt off before. I thought nothing of it. I can't place it. My doctor says it might just be anxiety. He has prescribed me to a low dose of Xanax. It isn't helping. It feels all at once as though I am not who I once was. Things are not the same. I am sure I will figure this out soon.
[THERE ARE A SERIES OF BLANK PAGES]
[MORE MISSING PAGES]
not right. I should have never opened that box. What happened to me? I was on my way. I was Jason Campbell. I was Jason Campbell. I was Jason Campbell. I thought it could never get worse than the Raiders. Those players keep hitting me and hitting me, my teammates can't help. They won't help. My offensive line is supposed to protect me. The Chicago Bears are my own personal hell. It is just so cold. I'll never be warm again.
[CLEAR INDICATION PAGES HAVE BEEN RIPPED OUT]
MARCH 26, 2013 – This is what the shopkeep must have been referring to. The man was wise. Foolish youth can never been forgiven. I've learned. There is no room for regret. This is my fate. Cleveland.