IN FOUR years as a safety at Army, Caleb Campbell was never recognized by fans away from West Point. That changed on April 27, when he was drafted in the seventh round, with the 218th pick, by the Detroit Lions. Four days later Campbell, a native of Perrytown, Texas, landed in Detroit, and everywhere he turned, or so it seemed, people knew him—as the West Point cadet who won't need to fulfill his active-service duty because he had made it into the NFL. "Everyone was coming up to me and telling me good luck," he says. "That never happened before, never."
The week after he was drafted brought Campbell relief, exhilaration and, despite the warm greetings at the Detroit airport, some negative publicity. The three-year-old Army policy that will allow him to serve as a recruiter and general ambassador, instead of receiving a likely assignment in the Middle East (SI, March 24), is based on the idea that high-profile West Point grads help draw people into the military. But the public reaction to his career path has been mixed. "I've gotten some nasty letters from people questioning what I'm doing, asking me how I can look my classmates in the face," he says. "But that's been a very small minority. On the day I was drafted I got over 300 e-mails, lots of them from soldiers serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those guys said they were behind me and so were their commanding officers."
Last weekend Campbell attended a Lions minicamp, his first official activity as a pro. (He has yet to sign a contract.) Scouts graded him as a better tackler than coverage man, and the team has decided to make him an outside linebacker, a position he's never played. He'll be one of 10 linebackers competing during training camp for around eight jobs (six on the active roster, two on the practice squad). If he doesn't nail one of those or a spot with another NFL team by the end of the year, he may have to return to the Army and serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. First, though, he has classes and exams to finish at West Point before he graduates on May 31. "I know I'm representing more than just myself," he says, "and that gives me more motivation than anyone can imagine."
The Literary Life Jose Canseco
WHAT DO Aldous Huxley, Booker Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro and Jose Canseco have in common? If you said, "They all dated Madonna," think again. The answer: They've all taken a stab at a novel that addresses human cloning. Canseco is currently at work on his third book, a dystopian tale about a baseball cloning conspiracy that would fit nicely on one's bookshelf between Huxley's Brave New World and Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, assuming it is printed and bound in the usual format. Last week at a sparsely attended book signing in Van Nuys, Calif., for Vindicated—his second nonfiction book about doping in baseball—Canseco told SI that he's begun writing a novel, tentatively titled Prototype. "I don't know when it's going to come out, but it's going to be dark," he says. "It's certainly where we're heading in baseball."
That's not his only project. Canseco told the website LAist.com that he's working on a movie about his life. "It's a great human interest story," he said. As for the title role, don't expect Jose (or his twin, Ozzie) to star. Canseco said the plan is to have a reality-TV show to "find the individual that is the next Jose Canseco."
May 11, 2008
42 Years since the Tigers swept a series at Yankee Stadium before they took three straight from New York last week.
$78 million Amount the Bills will receive from a Canadian consortium to play five regular-season and three exhibition games in Toronto over the next five years.
0 Canadian teams in the NHL conference finals, which means that for the first time since 2003 the Stanley Cup finals will be an all-American affair.
1.74 ERA of Milwaukee's Derrick Turnbow in 2005, when he had 39 saves.
15.63 Turnbow's ERA in 6 1/3 innings this year; the Brewers designated the 30-year-old for assignment last Friday.
26 Points the Hawks scored in the first half of their 99--65 loss to the Celtics in Game 7 of their first round series, the fewest points Boston has ever allowed in a half in the postseason.
4 Finishing position of Natalie Du Toit in the 10-kilometer race at the world open water championships, meaning that the 24-year-old South African swimmer, who lost a leg in 2001, qualified for the Olympics.