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Navy confirms Keenan Reynolds, Joe Cardona can play in the NFL

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Two recent Naval Academy graduates will be permitted to play in the NFL this season.

Ravens rookie Keenan Reynolds and Patriots second-year long snapper Joe Cardona have both been given permission to play this NFL season while serving in the Navy Reserves, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told the Dan Patrick Show this morning.

The Navy, like Army and Air Force, requires graduates to serve in the military after graduation. But exceptions are sometimes made that allow graduates to pursue their careers while in the Reserves. When those exceptions are made for professional athletes, they are usually required to work at military recruiting stations during the offseason, and to do military work after their sports careers end.

Cardona was the Patriots’ fifth-round pick last year and served as their long snapper in all 16 games. Reynolds set an NCAA record for career touchdowns as an option quarterback at Navy and is hoping to make the Ravens’ roster as a running back, receiver or return man.

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27 Responses to “Navy confirms Keenan Reynolds, Joe Cardona can play in the NFL”
  1. dryden74 says: May 13, 2016 10:06 AM

    Like both players. Thank you, Navy.

  2. ajwill729 says: May 13, 2016 10:10 AM

    Or occasionally they let you just work recruiting for a few years and let you go for the good publicity, like David Robinson. Then again the tallest you can be and serve active on a ship is 6’8 and he blew past that at the academy so they didn’t have much of a choice.

  3. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: May 13, 2016 10:16 AM

    Having them work in recruiting stations in the area they play ball in makes a lot of sense. If the Navy was as forward thinking when Staubach graduated the academy he would have had an even more amazing career

  4. whodatnhollywood says: May 13, 2016 10:17 AM

    Go Navy!

  5. beatzdotcom says: May 13, 2016 10:20 AM

    Duty first. Ask David Robinson.

  6. favrewatch2016 says: May 13, 2016 10:22 AM

    Any word on Favre though?

  7. ctiggs says: May 13, 2016 10:24 AM

    Go Coast Guard !

  8. chieftaindawg says: May 13, 2016 10:25 AM

    The NFL needs more guys like this.

  9. jamaltimore says: May 13, 2016 10:33 AM

    really hope Reynolds has a great career with the Ravens. truly a crab cakes and football kind of guy!

  10. crewchief15 says: May 13, 2016 10:38 AM

    Would love for this to work for both, but doubt either make the final cut.

  11. topcide says: May 13, 2016 10:39 AM

    A smart move, them acting in a recruiting capacity is a much better use of them than acting in a traditional service role.

    Everyone has a different skill set that is best utilized, their public stature and playing in the NFL is the one that they possess. One of them giving a post game interview in a uniform is press that you can’t buy.

  12. 700levelvet says: May 13, 2016 10:42 AM

    This is a no brainier…

  13. jay6666 says: May 13, 2016 10:42 AM

    So Cardona isn’t headed for a ship this year as was reported last week??
    Sounds good that he will be in this year……

  14. smithdp says: May 13, 2016 11:02 AM

    Smart move. Makes it more likely that a kid with NFL dreams will sign with Navy out of H.S..

  15. buckybadger says: May 13, 2016 11:26 AM

    Shows where our priorities are as a country. You can get out of your commitment if you can play a sport. People will applaud this but still rail on Ali for being a draft dodger.

  16. damcmp says: May 13, 2016 11:33 AM

    if they want to play pro football don’t waste taxpayers money by sucking up a spot at a military academy period!

  17. w2lucky says: May 13, 2016 11:39 AM

    Glad the kids will get to play, but this proves one thing; The US Naval Academy does not exist to develop and create good Naval Officers. It’s about sports first and the revenue derived from sports. For further proof check out the Naval Academy Prep school where they teach basic math, schience and english to athletes that otherwise would not qualify to enter this school. Another broken system.

  18. getyourownname says: May 13, 2016 11:41 AM

    Good luck to them but I doubt this will make a significant difference in Navy football recruiting. Kids still have to go through 4 years of academy life, which is hard and not remotely the same as at a regular college, much less a football school. If you’re not really into it, you won’t make it. You don’t go to a service academy thinking you might want a football career.

  19. w2lucky says: May 13, 2016 11:42 AM

    Oh, and there is nothing more useless than an inexperienced junior officer at a recruiting station/facility.

  20. willycents says: May 13, 2016 11:53 AM

    Good PR by the Navy. Kids have heroes, kids tend to try to emulate their heroes. Could provide a “bump” in Navy recruiting.
    Imagine if Brady were to join the Army. 50 thousand NE fans, aged 13-17, would immediately overwhelm the recruiting offices trying to join.

  21. greenlargo says: May 13, 2016 11:54 AM

    buckybadger says:
    May 13, 2016 11:26 AM
    Shows where our priorities are as a country. You can get out of your commitment if you can play a sport. People will applaud this but still rail on Ali for being a draft dodger.


    Why should recruiting not be a priority for the Navy? They get so much more bang for the buck out of these guys by leveraging their football fame to the Navy’s purposes. On a ship they are just another body. But in a recruiting office, especially one in their teams home area, they are pure gold.

  22. kissbillsrings says: May 13, 2016 12:04 PM

    All the faux outrage…. Get real & get a life….
    They will fulfill their commitments in time…. If the military doesn’t want this to happen they should ban all college sports so not to risk it….
    Sounds pretty dumb… Now you know how YOU sound…
    This is GREAT advertisement for all branches of the military especially if we are not at “war” ……

  23. stexan says: May 13, 2016 12:17 PM

    Oh goody – my tax dollars now training Spokes Models.

    How about a talented actor/actress? or rapper? Maybe someone that’s into politics and has a job lined up in some high ranking pol’s staff? Or an attorney that wants to clerk for a Supreme Court Justice?
    Do they get to dump their commitment so they can flack for the military?

  24. theneedforspeeed says: May 13, 2016 12:48 PM

    I remember several years ago the Lions drafted a player in this same position. The military at first said ‘sure, you can play’. Then, when he was on his way to sign his contract they called him and said, ‘changed our minds, you cannot play. report for service.’
    Glad they are less indecisive, so far.

  25. charger383 says: May 13, 2016 1:01 PM

    which recruiter gets more attention from kids, Ensign that also plays in NFL or Petty Officer they never heard of before?

  26. crewchief15 says: May 13, 2016 3:10 PM

    Thumbs down all you want, wait until you see the rosters in September, see if they make the team…

  27. mackcarrington says: May 13, 2016 4:10 PM

    If you are a high school athlete with military aspirations, it won’t matter about the examples of Keenan Reynolds or David Robinson. If you want to go into the military, you’re going to go in anyway. It’s the rare athlete, who at the end of his 4 years, has the opportunity to decide on going on to a pro career. If one decides to go into the military, pro sports is certainly not their first or highest priority.

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