Campbell talks about being drafted

Caleb Campbell (Getty/ Jim Rogash)

Caleb Campbell, Welcome to the NFL. The Detroit Lions selected Campbell in the seventh round (218th overall) in yesterday's NFL draft. Campbell, a strong safety, is the first Army player to be taken in the draft since the Green Bay Packers took quarterback Ronnie McAda with the final pick in the seventh round.

During an interview on ESPN, head coach Rod Marinelli "himself an Army veteran" told Campbell to be "in shape and ready to tackle."

Marinelli said he plans to try out Campbell as an outside linebacker, but he knows the cadet has the versatility to play safety, if the Lions decide to go that route. Campbell, who received a standing ovation from fans at draft headquarters at Radio City Music Hall in New York during an interview with ESPN, reports to Detroit's rookie mini-camp this weekend.

Campbell talked about his big day and the future.

Caleb Campbell on what the whole experience has been like for him:

"It's very thrilling. It's something I've looked forward to for so long, something I've dreamed of for so long. Ever since I was a little kid I had these aspirations to one day play in the NFL and now that it's actually here and I've been given that opportunity, it's just unbelievable."

On whether he felt he gave up on that dream by going to West Point:

"Yeah actually, kind of, because at the time they didn't have the new policy implemented or anything like that. So, I knew I was going to the academy, it was a pleasure playing football, but also it was taking an ode to protect and serve my nation and I knew I wanted to be an officer and I wanted to be a leader and I'm very fortunate that the Army decided to implement this new policy and I get to take advantage of it because I really think it's going to help out."

On whether he has a commitment to serve after playing:

"No, I'll serve for two years and then instead of five years of active duty I'll have another six years of reserve work. My sole job is to play football, which is great."

On whether he knew the Lions might pick him:

"No, I really didn't. I haven't really been in contact with them. I just talked to my agent all throughout the day and I really didn't get much interest until Mr. (Matt) Millen called me a few hours ago and said to have a heads up that he might take me, so it got me excited and here we are now."

On whether he knows Matt Millen at all and how well he knows his son, Marcus, a teammate at West Point:

"Me and Marcus are good friends actually. I've met Mr. Millen a couple of times when he came out for some of our games, but nothing beyond a few hello's and 'how are you doing sir?' That was pretty much it."

On if things don't work out with his pro career:

"Yeah, I would just go on with my Army career."

On how much others in the academy support him with this:

"I'm getting a lot of support: my classmates, my friends, the faculty and staff at the academy are all routing for me - even soldiers in Iraq that have been deployed. It's a lot of support, it really is and I'm very fortunate for this opportunity. I really appreciate the support because it really helps out."

On what he thinks he would do in the Army if he were not to play football:

"I'll branch Air Defense Artillery, so if it wasn't for football I would pursue my career as an Air Defense Artillery man."

On the media surrounding his pick and the chants from the crowds at Radio City Music Hall:

"It was just unbelievable, I'm very fortunate that I've been given this opportunity and everyone here has been very supportive and it's been a moment that I'll never forget."

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