Last month it was revealed that, after going through the pre-draft process, the Department of Defense denied Cameron Kinley's bid to pursue a professional football career.
A 3-year starter at cornerback, a team captain, and also his class president, Kinley's agent said he was assured by the Naval Academy he'd be able to pursue his NFL dreams after graduation. The decision was such a sharp turn against recent precedent -- just last year former Navy QB Malcolm Perry was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and caught nine passes as a rookie -- that we theorized the Navy must be adapting to a new White House administration.
Whatever the reason, it doesn't matter. Kinley announced today he'll be allowed to report to training camp later this month.
“Today I was informed the Secretary of Defense will be allowing me to continue my journey with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and attend training camp at the end of this month,” Kinley said in a statement. “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’m thankful for everyone who supported me in any way.”.
It's important to note Kinley isn't avoiding his commitment to serve in the Navy, he's just delaying it by however long his NFL career lasts -- which, in all likelihood, won't be all that long. He's an undrafted free agent attempting to join a defending Super Bowl champion that returns all 22 starters. The competition for the few available jobs in the Bucs' defensive backfield will be fiercer than usual.
Still, Kinley will get a chance, which is all he asked for.
“This was no easy feat and we worked tirelessly to make it happen,” Kinley's agents at Devine Sports and Entertainment said.