Trent Steelman keeps close eye on NFL Draft, could skip military service
As of now, Trent Steelman has a commitment to serve in the Army next year. But take one look at his Twitter profile, and it’s pretty clear he’d rather be lacing up cleats than combat boots this fall.
“Former Army Football QB and (h)opefully get the opportunity to play at the next level,” Steelman’s profile proclaims.
Thanks to a 2008 directive by the Department of Defense, there is a glimmer of hope that Steelman can forego his military obligation if the NFL comes calling.
"Exceptional personnel with unique talents and abilities may be released … when there is a strong expectation they will provide the Department with significant favorable media exposure likely to enhance national recruiting or public affairs efforts,” the directive says.
But in Steelman’s case, there are gray areas. First of all, he’s no lock to be drafted at all this weekend. If he reaches the NFL, it will be as a slot wide receiver, a position he played for the first time in January’s East-West Shrine Game. NFLDraftScout.com ranks him as the 144th best receiver in the draft.
Even if his name is not called, Steelman could get his chance by signing with a team as an undrafted rookie, a move that would first require his release from the Army. The Jets are one team that has expressed interest in him.
But will his chances of being granted a release be hampered if he is not drafted? That’s a question even Steelman can’t answer.
“It’s all a case-by-case basis,” Steelman told NFL Draft Bible. “It’ll be reviewed upon that time that I get drafted or get picked up as a free agent, and they’ll make their decision then.”
The online scouting reports on the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Steelman paint the picture of a player who has physical limitations, but who also packs a strong work ethic and intangibles when he has the football in his hands – skills that helped him become the first player in Army history to rush for more than 3,000 yards and pass for more than 2,000 yards in a career.
“Steelman won’t wow athletically, but he is a gutsy, resilient football player,” NFLDraftScout.com says.