Caleb Campbell Re-Drafted by Army
Remember the feel-good story from the end of this April’s NFL draft when West Point’s Caleb Campbell was selected by the Detroit Lions? (If not, click the link.) Well, the Army has changed its mind:
Caleb Campbell will not get a chance to play for the Detroit Lions because of a change in military policy.
Campbell was a seventh-round draft pick for the Lions in April. At the time, Army policy would have allowed the West Point graduate to serve as a recruiter if he made the team. But a subsequent Department of Defense policy has superseded the 2005 Army policy. In a letter to Lions president Matt Millen dated Wednesday, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jonathan P. Liba wrote that Campbell has been ordered to give up professional football for “full-time traditional military duties.”
Liba wrote that 2nd Lt. Campbell may ask to be released from his active duty obligations in May 2010. Liba said Campbell was allowed to enter the draft “in good faith.”
The old policy, which had never been invoked, was controversial. After all, the military academies exist to prepare future combat leaders, not millionaire pro athletes. It was especially a hard sell during a time of war to claim that the high visibility Campbell brought to West Point and the Army was somehow equivalent to his classmates’ going off to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Still, the fact of the matter is that it was the policy in 2005, when Campbell made the fateful step to start his junior year at USMA and thus take on the obligations of military service. Further, it was the policy when the Lions, also acting in good faith, devoted a precious draft pick on him.
This is truly a bizarre turn of events.