Tommie Campbell didn’t have a rookie off-season to learn what was expected of him as an NFL cornerback.
The lockout wiped out the OTAs he and the 2011 draft class would have had. And for a seventh-round pick like Campbell from Division II Indiana, Pa., an off-season certainly would have helped.
So now that he has the opportunity to soak up the nuances of the game and learn how to refine his technique, Campbell is taking full advantage of it.
Titans personnel from Coach Mike Munchak to COO Mike Reinfeldt to defensive coordinator Jerry Gray have raved about his dedication and hard work this off-season, with all saying no player on the roster has done more to better himself than Campbell.
Campbell sees it as an opportunity not only to win playing time, but to become more of a professional.
“I look at it as a time to develop my game. I didn’t have OTAs last year or anything like that. I kind of came in last year blind. But they gave me time to work on my game and learn how to be a professional even more,” Campbell said.
Campbell, who once worked as an airport janitor during a time out of football, isn’t one to take things for granted, and his extra work has been paying off. He was out with the first-team nickel working outside, as Alterraun Verner moved into the slot position.
“Toward the middle of last year, that’s how I started approaching things,” Campbell said. “That’s when I learned how to become a professional and to develop every day. When I was working at the airport, it was eight hours every day, so it’s possible for me to come over here for at least five (hours).”
Campbell has taken that time to immerse himself in film study.
“I’ve watched everything, but I was watching what the opposing teams did, route combinations and things like that. I want to develop into an all-around cornerback and not just a one-year wonder,” he said. “I feel like I can continue to get better every day and take the coaching from Coach (Brett) Maxie and Coach (Steve) Brown.”
“That’s the fun part. Everyone gets worried about when we lost Finnegan and we have to go get a veteran. But a lot of times we feel comfortable with the guys we have,” Munchak said. “We like the guys we have. We like the speed we have, and he’s a perfect example of a guy who has so much upside. The question is how quickly can we get it out of him.”