Cameron Kinley graduated from the US Naval Academy last month with aspirations of both a naval career and a job in the NFL. The college cornerback was the president of his class and started 10 games for the Midshipmen last fall. Blessed with ideal size (6’2, 205 lbs) and obvious smarts, Kinley drew the attention of NFL teams.
Though he wasn’t selected in April’s draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended a free agent offer to Kinley and he reportedly impressed during their post-draft rookie minicamp. Following minicamp, the rookie defensive back asked to have his five-year naval service commitment delayed while he pursued his dream of playing in the NFL. Requesting a delay in service is a fairly common practice amongst service academy athletes with pro potential. Common as it may be, the Navy denied Kinley’s request and he will not be able to appeal their decision.
Captain J. Dorsey of the United States Navy spoke to Tampa Bay’s Fox 13 about the decision: “The mission of the Naval Academy is to develop young men and women to commission as officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. When students accept admission and continue their education in this program, there is an understanding and acknowledgment that they will upon graduation be commissioned. Every Midshipman attends on the same terms and each has the same responsibility to serve. Exceptions to that commitment to serve have been rightfully rare.”
“Following discussions with senior Department of Navy leadership and in accordance with existing Department of Defense policy, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker, declined to forward requests from recent Naval Academy graduates to the Secretary of Defense, seeking to delay their commissions,” said Captain Dorsey.
The decision to not allow his commission to be delayed should come as a bit of a surprise. At least three other graduates from service academies (Army and Air Force specifically) had their service delayed and will suit up for NFL teams this fall.
Barring a last-minute change of heart from the U.S. Navy, Kinley will spend the fall defending our country, rather than opposing wide receivers.