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Army Policy Permitting Caleb Campbell to Play Under Review

Linebacker Caleb Campbell is the most talked about Lions rookie despite being a seventh-round draft pick.  That's the case because he was the first player from Army to be drafted in 11 years, and because he is actually going to have a shot at playing in the NFL thanks to a new policy.

As long as Campbell is on an NFL team, he is allowed to serve the United States as an Army recruiter.  Should he be cut, though, he would likely be deployed soon after if he couldn't find another team.  That is what the Army's policy was understood to be all this time, but now things may be up in the air as the policy is under review.

According to a memorandum from the Under Secretary of Defense last August, academy graduates can request early release from their active duty service obligations (ADSO) only after having served a minimum of 24 months of those obligations.

The Army's interpretation is that Campbell could serve those 24 months as a Detroit-area recruiter if he makes the Lions and remains on their roster those two seasons.

The interpretation by the Air Force and Navy is that their graduates must fulfill that two-year military commitment first before pursuing an early release. The Department of Defense informed the Army in late April, after the draft, that it must review its policy to make sure it's in compliance.

"That's where the rub is," said Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb. "What is 24 months of active service?"

Should something happen that causes Campbell to serve his two years of active service as something more than a recruiter, this really could become a sticky situation.  Not only would there be bad PR for the Army as Campbell, along with all of us, were under the impression that he could pursue a career in the NFL, but it would basically make one of the Lions' draft picks non-existent, at least until his two years of service are over.

Of course, all of this talk about what the future of the policy is may turn out to be all for naught should Campbell be cut, but there is a chance he will make the team.  It isn't a great chance, but he certainly has a shot.  For something to happen that could make that shot not matter at all would just be a shame.