Linebacker Caleb Campbell was originally selected by Detroit in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of West Point.
Based on the Army’s alternative-service-policy, he was allowed to enter the draft upon graduation, with the plan to complete his military service as a recruiter while also pursing his football career.
But on July 8, the Army revised this policy, stating that Campbell would first have to serve his military service time, preventing him from signing a contract with the Lions and playing football until 2010.
Campbell: “It was really tough for me, initially. But I knew I had to carry on with my orders. I allowed that pain I was feeling of having your dream at your fingertips and then having it taken away from you, I guess you can say I embraced it, and allowed it to make me a better person.
“Over the last two years I’ve definitely matured as a person and I think that pain and that hard time built character. Over the past two years it’s been a blessing still and I’ve matured in a lot of ways off the field.”
With his service time accounted for, Campbell arrived at the Lions’ training facility anxious to get back on the field with the other rookies.
Having been away from football for the past two years, the idea of getting back on the field is both nerve-racking and exciting.
Campbell: “It’s really exciting to know that I have an opportunity to be here because over the last two years I’ve been battling with the idea of whether I was even going to play again. I’m trying to work out at the levels that this caliber of athletes in the NFL workout at and being unsure of whether or not I can even play again.
“I’m pretty nervous, but I’m also excited to get out there and to run around with the guys again and put a helmet on. I’m anxious to see how my body adapts to it. I know that I’m my own worst enemy, I’m an over achiever and I’m very critical of myself, so I know it’s going to take a little time to get back into things. It’s been challenging, but I’m really excited to be here.”
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