Last month, Navy graduate Cameron Kinley requested to delay his U.S. Navy commission in order to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL. Despite being offered a free agent contract by the Buccaneers, Kinley’s request was denied. But not for long – Kinley announced today that Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense informed him that he’ll be allowed to delay his commission, paving the way for Kinley to participate in Tampa Bay’s training camp.
— Cameron Kinley (@ck3thethrill) July 6, 2021
“I am extremely appreciative of Secretary Austin’s decision and I am excited to represent our fine military in the National Football League. This past month has been very challenging and I am thankful for everyone who has supported me in any way,” wrote Kinley.
The rookie defensive back impressed Bucs coaches during a post-draft rookie minicamp, prompting the free agent contract offer. Last month, head coach Bruce Arians was hopeful they’d find a way to get Kinley to camp.
Bruce Arians on the Navy's denial of Cameron Kinley's request to delay his service: "He's obviously very important to the Navy … I would love to have him. I thought he showed promise."@ck3thethrill #GoBucs pic.twitter.com/cMVfjQt4Vo
— Kyle Burger (@kyle_burger) June 8, 2021
“If he can get free by training camp, we’d love to have him back,” said Arians.
The defending champion Buccaneers open training camp on July 25th. Kinley, who served as a team captain at Navy last season, will be one of 18 defensive backs competing for a roster spot as Tampa Bay begins their title defense.