Army's NFL History

Ronnie McAda (Getty Image)

Army strong safety Caleb Campbell has a chance to make us all proud at the East-West Shrine Game in Houston on Saturday. He might not be finished there. Campbell has a shot at playing in the NFL, which has always proved difficult for Army players. Obviously, Campbell is talented, but he has something going for him that other players didn't.

EDITORS NOTE: According to Shrine Bowl officials, Campbell will not participate in the Shrine game due to a pulled hamstring.

Playing in the NFL became far less difficult when in 2005 the Department of Army decided that athletes with pro contracts can serve two years of active duty and six years in the reserves to fulfill their military obligations. So, we wish you good luck, Caleb.

This is a look at other Army players who have tried to make the NFL over the last decade.

Joel Davis, offensive lineman: He spent four years (1997-2000) trying to latch on with with Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Philadelphia before retiring. David might have been drafted out of Army if not for the military commitments.

C.W. Estes, defensive lineman: Had a good training camp with the Giants in 1997, but never made the team. Another player hurt by military commitments.

Ron Leshinski, tight end: Leshinski, co-captain of Army's last bowl team in 1996, had brief stints with New Orleans (1997-99) and Philadelphia (99).

Ronnie McAda, quarterback: He was Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick (seventh round, 240th overall) in the 1997 draft. But McAda almost stuck with the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre. He was around until final cuts at training camp in 1997 and if it wasn't for his Army commitments, McAda has said he thinks he would have made the team. McAda later had a short stint with Denver.

Michael Wallace, running back: Wallace, who finished his Army career with 2,275 rushing yards, was cut late in training camp by the Colts in 2002. He saw limited time in exhibition games. Kicker Eric Olsen was cut by Indianapolis a few years before Wallace.

Lyle Weaver, linebacker: The Jets waived Weaver after a short stint at mini-camp in the spring of 2003.

He had earned a tryout with the Jets with the help of then linebackers coach Bob Sutton. Weaver also worked out for Minnesota and Buffalo, but neither team got back to him. He had recieved a medical release from the Army due to a bad knee.

Scott Wesley, running back: One of the best stories of the 2005 season, Wesley, a converted wide receiver, earned a look from the Detroit Lions during rookie mini-camp in 2006. However, he wasn't offered a free agent contract. Wesley was one of 28 undrafted and unsigned players who received tryouts and competed for three days with Detroit's NFL draft picks and undrafted free agents. The three players offered contracts were Rutgers defensive end Val Barnaby, San Diego State safety Marcus Demps and Hofstra wide receiver Devale Ellis.

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