Eric Kettani is leaving his post as a running back on the Patriots’ practice squad to return to the U.S. Navy.
Kettani, who played college football at the U.S. Naval Academy, was informed that he is being ordered to return to his Navy ship in Jacksonville, Ian R. Rapoport of the Boston Herald reports.
Although he was hoping to continue his NFL career, Kettani said he understands that he has orders to follow.
“I love my country and I’m happy to serve it, but I’m also happy to be a New England Patriot,” Kettani told Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
Kettani had requested a leave from active duty that would allow him to stay with the Patriots, but he was informed by letter that his request was denied.
“As our nation is at war, it is important to ensure we maintain our commitment to the nation’s defense,” the letter from the Navy said. “As such, a release from active duty would be inconsistent with that effort.”
And with that, Kettani is out of the NFL and headed back to active service.