Caleb Campbell joins Lions -- finally

Among those participating in Detroit's rookie minicamp Friday will be linebacker Caleb Campbell, the Lions' well-traveled seventh-round pick in 2008 whose NFL career will begin two years later than he originally hoped.

Campbell had planned to use the U.S. Army's alternative service option to begin playing immediately after the draft. Ultimately, however, the Army required him to serve two years before joining the team.

Originally drafted as a safety, Campbell now weighs 237 pounds and will work as a linebacker for the Lions. He signed his contract this week.

I think some Lions fans are getting ahead of themselves in believing Campbell will challenge for the position left open by the trade of Ernie Sims, but I do think he'll have a strong chance to make the team as a special-teams player.

Here's what Campbell told the Lions' website about the past two years:

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.