Football To Bobsled

Caleb Campbell is trading tackling sleds for bobsleds. The former West Point linebacker, who had a brief dalliance with the NFL in 2008, is in the midst of a long shot attempt to make the U.S. Olympic bobsled team as a brakeman.

In case you’ve forgotten about Campbell, he became the breakout star at last year’s NFL draft after getting drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Lions. He played college football at West Point and became the first graduate of the military academy to be drafted in over a decade. On the second day of the NFL draft he earned a standing ovation from the crowd at Radio City Music Hall, was interviewed on ESPN and spoke to his new coach, Rod Marinelli, via videoconference.

Campbell was set to take advantage of a new Department of Defense policy that would have allowed soldiers to play professional sports in lieu of the military service they owed. But on the eve of training camp, the rule was rescinded and Campbell was ordered to return to military service.

Now Campbell is back working toward another sporting goal, the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The burly linebacker received an unexpected call one year ago from a USA bobsled assistant asking him to tryo. Campbell was completely unfamiliar with the sport (he compared himself to those guys from Cool Runnings), but took up an offer to have some practice runs at Lake Placid in November. He told USA Today it was “the most intense thing” he’s ever done.

In case you’re wondering why Campbell is allowed to bobsled but not play football, it has to do with professional status. If Campbell played in the NFL he’d be considered a pro. In bobsledding, he’s an amateur. (Yes, it sounds like a tomato/tomaahto situation to us too.)

There are a number of steps Campbell would have to go through in order to qualify, beginning with the U.S. push championship qualifiers next week. He’s a long shot, but has already defied the odds once in his sporting career. Who’s to say he can’t do it again?

This guy must be a H-W-S specimen if he’s getting a call from the US bobsled assistant.