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Thornhill invited to Lions camp

April 23, 2002

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 aren’t guaranteed.

Five of Thornhill’s former teammates were drafted this weekend, highlighted by T.J. Duckett’s selection by the Atlanta Falcons as the 18th overall pick.

Thornhill said he doesn’t know why he wasn’t drafted, but said he’s 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, I’m just as confused as anyone else. It was pretty disappointing, obviously. It’s not what I hoped for.

“At least I got an opportunity. I’m 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 it’s usually because of character issues.

“People don’t want to take a chance on a guy like that in this salary-cap driven world,”Brandt said. “I didn’t 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 wasn’t drafted.

“He could write a book on being a good person,” Grant said. “In all honesty, he’s a great guy. It’s just unfortunate things didn’t work out.

“Sometimes things have a strange way of working out. I’m not worried about him, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

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