Duty calls: Navy denies Bucs rookie Kinley a chance to pursue NFL dream

Cameron Kinley of the Navy Midshipmen carries an American flag as the team takes the field against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Cameron Kinley of the Navy Midshipmen carries an American flag as the team takes the field against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

Cornerback Cameron Kinley’s NFL career is over before it started.

The Navy graduate was denied a chance to have his commission delayed so that he could pursue his dream of playing in the league. Kinley had signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers, but was not given permission by the Navy’s Acting Secretary, Thomas W. Harker to play.

In a lengthy post on Twitter, Kinley said that he was disappointed that he was not given the opportunity to pursue an NFL opportunity before fulfilling his commitment to the Navy.

“I have spent the past week processing my emotions, as it is very difficult to have been this close to achieving a childhood dream and having it taken away from me,” Kinley wrote.

Kinley listed four other current rookie players — Jon Rhattigan, Nolan Laufenberg, George Silvanic and Parker Ferguson — who have been permitted to give the NFL a shot before fulfilling their service commitments. Rhattigan is in the Army, while the other three are members of the Air Force.

“I am very aware of the commitment that I made to service when I first arrived at the United States Naval Academy. I look forward to my career as a naval officer in the information warfare community. However, I am deserving of the opportunity to live out another one of my life-long dreams before fulfilling my service requirement.

A 2019 memo spearheaded by then-President Donald Trump put in place measures for allowing athletes from the country’s service academies to push back their active-duty service start dates so that they could pursue professional sports. The Associated Press reported that athletes must get approval from the Pentagon chief and it requires them to eventually fulfill their military obligation or repay the costs of their education.


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