Tennessee Titans’ defensive back Tommie Campbell has impressive measurables and unquestioned talent, but it’s the obstacles that he has had to overcome that make him the most intriguing player on the Titans roster.
If you heard a player who is 6’3”, 205 lbs, runs a sub 4.4 forty, and was regarded as highly as Darrell Revis coming out of high school, you would never believe that he was lucky to be drafted by the Titans in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
For someone oozing with football genes as spectacular as Tommie, to be lost in the NFL Draft is only made possible by the player himself getting lost along the way. That’s who Tommie was; a lost kid.
Campbell is from Aliquippa, PA where he attended Aliquippa High School. NFL greats such as Mike Ditka, Ty Law, and Darrell Revis also attended the school. He then enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh. Darrell Revis and Campbell were both highly touted and were supposed to be key pieces in Pittsburgh’s defense for years to come. Tommie didn’t make it past two.
Unfortunately his play on the football field didn’t match work ethic in the classroom. After skipping class and having low marks in school, Tommie was asked to leave the school. No one had anything to bad say about him, other than the fact that he wasn’t focused on school.
Campbell then enrolled at Division II Edinboro (PA). His performance in school did not improve, and he was eventually asked to leave there as well.
He eventually got a job as a janitor at the Pittsburgh International Airport. He was out of shape and unmotivated. By the looks of it, Tommie was just another kid who blew an opportunity. Two people in Tommie’s life, his girlfriend and his girlfriends uncle, weren’t willing to let him scrub toilets for the rest of his life .
Tommie began to train under his girlfriends uncle with the goal in mind to make it back on the football field. After his hard work and help from his girlfriends’ uncle, Tommie was given the opportunity to play at Division II California (PA).
In one season Tommie played well enough to get invited to the Cactus Bowl All-Star game, which is a skills showcase for the top Division II players in the country. He performed well, especially in the forty yard dash were he posted a sub 4.4 time.
The strong finish, to a once dead football career, was apparently good enough that the Titans drafted him in the 7th round.
Coming into camp last year Tommy figured he would be lucky to make the team. After an impressive camp and preseason, Tommie made the final 53-man roster. Throughout the season he was a special teams ace and even had a kickoff return for a touchdown.
After last season and the continued growth during this current offseason, Tommie has put himself in strong consideration to start opposite Jason McCourty.
This is part I of a two-part article. The next will be an interview with Tommie Campbell.