Last year, opportunity knocked for Tommie Campbell.
He didn't answer.
Campbell spent a good part of the off-season and the early part of training camp in 2012 working on the outside in nickel situations and hoping to earn himself a spot beyond special teams.
It didn't happen, and Campbell sank down the depth chart at cornerback last year.
Now, in 2013, the Titans are looking to revamp things defensively. They are even taking a look at starting cornerback Alterraun Verner at safety during OTAs, and making a concerted effort since the arrival of Gregg Williams on the defensive staff to play more man-to-man coverage on the outside.
That has given Campbell, who has been getting first-team reps in Verner's stead, a new lease on life as a Titan.
With another chance presented to him, Campbell says he doesn't want to repeat the mistakes of a year ago.
“It's the same situation for me as last year, but I'm just gonna worry about the things that I can control,” Campbell said. “I'm gonna worry about my technique in practice and my approach as a cornerback, having my eyes in the right places. I'm gonna focus on all the instruction from the coaches and my accountability. That's most important.”
Campbell has the size (6-2) and the speed (4.31 in the 40) that coaches dream of, but he entered the NFL very raw, having finished his college career at Division II Indiana, Pa., after having his time interrupted by dropping out of school and even working as a janitor for a time.
What the problem was for Campbell last season was not between the lines, but perhaps between the ears.
“Accountability held me back. I didn't take the coaching to the field with me. I was a man-to-man guy. That was my strength, and if I can't do what my so-called strength was, then I can't be out there,” Campbell said.
Campbell recalled one of the plays where things went downhill for him, giving up a touchdown pass to Braylan Edwards of Seattle in the preseason open.
“If I get beat on a go ball – Braylon Edwards caught that on me – it's a simple thing. I should have made a play on it, but I didn't,” Campbell said. “I relied on my athletic ability and I didn't know where he was at. I didn't feel him and didn't make a play on the ball. It was little things like that.”
Campbell has restored his confidence and says if he pays attention to detail then “the sky's the limit.”
Even Verner, who expects to go back to cornerback when Bernard Pollard returns to mini-camp next week to play safety, has taken notice of Campbell's play in OTAs.
“Tommie is doing a really, really good job out there, and he's trying to make it really tough for them not to play him,” Verner said.