A day after not being picked in the 2002 NFL Draft, middle linebacker Josh Thornhill was given another chance.
The third-team All-American and team MVP was invited to workout at the Detroit Lions mini-camp Thursday through Sunday at its Allen Park practice facility. The mini-camp could result in a two-year contract for Thornhill. Football contracts arent guaranteed.
Five of Thornhills former teammates were drafted this weekend, highlighted by T.J. Ducketts selection by the Atlanta Falcons as the 18th overall pick.
Thornhill said he doesnt know why he wasnt drafted, but said hes looking forward to trying out for the Lions.
It was my future that was decided in these last few days, Thornhill said. It was a letdown, Im just as confused as anyone else. It was pretty disappointing, obviously. Its not what I hoped for.
At least I got an opportunity. Im going to take that opportunity and run with it.
NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt was just as baffled as Thornhill.
I was surprised, Brandt said. I cannot for the life of me tell you why Thornhill was not drafted. He was a player that was invited to the combine.
Brandt said when a player is overlooked in the draft its usually because of character issues.
People dont want to take a chance on a guy like that in this salary-cap driven world,Brandt said. I didnt hear anything in any way, shape or form of problems with Thornhill, characterwise.
Spartan teammate Tony Grant, who signed with the Washington Redskins after not being drafted, said his heart sank when Thornhill wasnt drafted.
He could write a book on being a good person, Grant said. In all honesty, hes a great guy. Its just unfortunate things didnt work out.
Sometimes things have a strange way of working out. Im not worried about him, Im sure hell be fine.