Instead of Combat, Caleb Campbell Heading To The Lions. So, Yay?

Illustration for article titled Instead of Combat, Caleb Campbell Heading To The Lions. So, Yay?

Safety Caleb Campbell was the first nonkicker from Army ever invited to take part in the NFL combine. If he didn't get drafted, he would probably be serving as a second lieutenant in Iraq or Afghanistan by year's end. But Campbell was drafted in the 7th round. By the Detroit Lions. Bit of a Pyrrhic victory, no?


All kidding aside, it's an interesting situation and one that possible only to a recent policy change.

In years past, military athletes had little hope of playing professional football due to their commitment to the service upon graduation. Army recently revised those requirements, leaving the door open for Campbell and other Cadets to pursue their dream of playing in the National Football League.

What Army has done is offer its top athletes a side door to professional sports. West Point has implemented an alternative service option program that allows cadets to turn pro — and play — right away. Cadets accepted into the program "will owe two years of active service in the Army, during which time they will be allowed to play their sport in the player-development systems of their respective organizations and be assigned to recruiting stations. If they remain in professional sports following those two years, they will be provided the option of buying out the remaining three years of their active-duty commitment in exchange for six years of reserve time."

At least with the Lions there won't be any doubts about the chances of victory.