Former Navy football captain Cameron Kinley will get a chance to play in the NFL after all. Kinley was cleared Tuesday to delay his military service to attend training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kinley released a statement announcing the Secretary of Defense will allow Kinley to attend training camp with the Buccaneers.
— Cameron Kinley (@ck3thethrill) July 6, 2021
In his statement, Kinley thanked the NFL, NFLPA and various other people and groups for sharing his story.
Divine Sports & Entertainment confirmed the news, thanking the Navy for allowing Kinley to pursue his NFL dreams.
President Joe Biden applauds decision
Shortly after the news broke, the White House released a statement from President Joe Biden affirming the decision.
"Today, I was pleased to learn from Secretary of Defense Austin that he has granted Cameron Kinley’s request to pursue a playing career in the National Football League prior to his service as a naval officer," Biden's statement reads.
"I am confident that Cameron will represent the Navy well in the NFL, just as he did as a standout athlete and class president at the Naval Academy. After his NFL career is over, he will continue to make us proud as an officer in the United States Navy."
Cameron Kinley initially denied by Navy
Kinley's path to NFL training camp hasn't been smooth. While Kinley — a cornerback — wasn't selected in the 2021 NFL draft, he signed with the Buccaneers as a undrafted free agent and did enough to impress the team at rookie camp.
Kinley was expected to take part in the team's training camp, but the Navy denied Kinley's request to delay his military service in May. Kinley said his "childhood dream" was crushed following the Navy's decision. In a statement, Kinley referenced other NFL athletes from different military branches who were allowed to delay their service to play in the league. He wondered why he wasn't granted that same opportunity.
After months of uncertainty, Kinley will be granted that chance.
While Kinley will have a chance to make the team, he — like any other undrafted player — faces a tough road if he hopes to claim a spot on the final 53-man roster. If Kinley does make the team, he still intends to fulfill his commitment to the military down the road.
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