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Friday, March 12, 2010
Schwartz: Lions plan to sign Campbell

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

To follow up on Thursday’s post, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said Friday he is hoping the Lions can get a contract “finished up” for free agent linebacker Caleb Campbell, whose U.S. Army commitment is nearing its expiration.

Campbell
Campbell
As you recall, Campbell was the Lions’ seventh-round draft pick in 2008 and was hoping to use an alternative service option to enter the league right away. He instead served two years as an Army officer. Schwartz said he had interest in Campbell in 2008 when he was Tennessee’s defensive coordinator and was pleased to see Campbell -- a safety at West Point -- has grown into a linebacker’s body.

“It wasn’t just the Lions that liked him when he came out,” Schwartz said to Detroit-area reporters. “We did a lot of work on him. He was a guy that almost everybody projected as a linebacker. He’s still that same guy. He’s a very instinctive football player. He’s a very hard worker, he’s very smart and all of those different things. The thing that happened with us is that he came back and he looks like a linebacker. He doesn’t look like a safety anymore. He’s 235-plus pounds, he ran really well, so our interest went a little bit farther. Hopefully that’s another one that can get finished up.”

Campbell is waiting to hear whether the Army will give him an early release so he can participate in a rookie minicamp next month. At worst, he should be eligible to participate in late-spring organized team activities. It’s probably best to view him as a player who would add athleticism and aggressiveness to the Lions’ special-teams coverage groups.