Interview: Cameron Craig

We all knew about Caleb Campbell, Owen Tolson, Mike Viti and Jeremy Trimble. But the surprise of Army's run at the NFL came when former defensive end Cameron Craig was invited to the Detroit Lions' mini-camp last week.

Craig, a 2007 West Point grad, hadn't played in a year. He was cut by the Colts and Chiefs last spring. Still, he had a good showing at Detroit's mini-camp. The Lions didn't offer Craig a free agent contract after the workouts, but he's still holding out hope the team might.

If not, he's ready, proud and excited to serve his country. Craig, the Black Knights' all-time sack leader, spoke to armysports.com this week.

ArmySports.com: How did it feel to be back in pads at mini-camp with Detroit?

Cameron Craig: I was surprised when my agent called me and told me the Lions wanted to give me a tryout because I had been out of football for a year. I was still training hard in hopes of a call, but I really didn't expect to get it. It really blindsided me. But I was happy to get a shot. Overall, I was pretty ecstatic. It felt good to be out there again.

AS: Could the Lions sign you at some time?

Craig: My status now is that I'm active duty in the Army. Right now, I'm El Paso doing my officer basic training course. My duty right now is to go through that. Until I get a contract offer from the Lions, this is what I'm going to continue to do. I don't know if they will offer me. All I did was go to the camp, perform my best, but I have no idea.

AS: If the Lions don't sign you, would you like another shot with a team at a training camp this summer?

Craig: If I was presented with that opportunity, you better believe it. It's something I've always dreamed of. It's something I haven't let go of yet. However, I know right now my duties are as a second lieutenant with the Army.

AS: What was it like being on the field with Caleb Campbell again at Lions' mini-camp?

Craig: It was a great. Caleb is a good guy and I love hanging out with him. He did really well at camp and I know he will fit in with the scheme of things with the Lions. On the military side, he understands the responsibilities, and what you have to do to represent the the U.S. Army.

AS: What do you make of all the attention Caleb had received lately?

Craig: I guess that comes with being the first Army player drafted in seven years. He's handled it real well. Caleb's been real humble and I can't think of a better person to have that responsibility than Caleb.

AS: What do you say to critics of Army's alternative service option?

Craig: Whenever someone has success, there are always going to be critics. I talked to Caleb and he talked to me about the people who think he is dodging duty and all that. That's not the case. It's just an opportunity that was presented to him and he took it. It will serve as a valuable service and promote the U.S. Army and West Point. I think Caleb has done real well handling it all.

AS: If you don't play in the NFL, what will your military career be like in the next year?

Craig: I will finish my officer basic course and then, from there, go to my unit in Fort Sill, Okla. In 2009 some time, we are deploying to Korea for a year. Whatever assignment they give me, I'm going to do it, and perform it to the best of my abilities.

AS: Where do you think you will be in a year from now?

Craig: That's hard to say, the Army is quirky. You can't try to predict what is going to happen. But If I had to predict, in about a year from now, I will be on a plane heading over to Korea.


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