The Patriots cleaned out their lockers Monday, and one of them is heading straight into a different kind of offseason program.
Via Tim Healey of the Boston Globe, long snapper Joe Cardona will transition back to being a full-time Navy officer soon, reporting to Norfolk, Virginia to continue his training.
The Patriots drafted Cardona in the fifth round this year knowing he had a military commitment.
“This year was great, being on the field,” Cardona said. “I obviously have a higher priority than being here. It’s different. It’s important to me that I’m doing my job on both ends the best I can.”
Cardona got a one-year deferment, and worked one day a week at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I. He’ll probably do the same this year, though there is paperwork to be done.
“I have a lot of support at high levels,” Cardona said. “So just like this year, working a schedule that everything comes together, I’ll be able to make my requirements for each. There’s a lot of specifics to work out. Things can always change. . . .
“It’s just navigating the waters on both ends. No pun intended.”
Of course, Cardona’s Naval obligations might be even less stressful, since his football boss treats his branch more like the CIA.