Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Cameron Kinley will be in training camp with the reigning Super Bowl champions after the United States Military delayed his commission.
Kinley’s agents at Divine Sports and Entertainment sent out a press release Tuesday stating that the former Naval Academy cornerback “has been granted the opportunity to play professional football by the Secretary of Defense, Retired General Lloyd Austin. Kinley was initially denied his request to delay his commission, but will now be able to exercise his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and attend training camp.”
Kinley, a captain of the football team and president of his class at Navy, also released a statement saying “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.”
Kinley went undrafted before signing with the Buccaneers as a free agent. In June, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker denied Kinley's request to delay his commission.
“As a Naval Academy graduate, football player, and decorated combat veteran I understand Cameron's commitment,” Kinley’s agent Ryan William-Jenkins said at the time. “I also understand there are ways he can fulfill his commitment while representing the Navy and playing professional sports. I played with three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Cardona, who still serves our country as a Navy reservist.”
“I am very aware of the commitment that I made to service when I first arrived at the United States Naval Academy,” Kinley said after his request was initially delayed. “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.”
About a month later, Kinley will get his opportunity after the military reversed its decision.
“Cameron is a fine young man, and we are very happy for him,” the release from Divine Sports and Entertainment reads. “This was no easy feat and we worked tirelessly to make it happen. We’d like to give a special thanks to the NFL League office, National Football League Players Association, United States Congress, and all public relations outlets that worked directly with us during this time.”