U.S. Navy Won’t Let Rookie Cornerback Cameron Kinley Delay Commission to Play for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rookie cornerback Cameron Kinley‘s request to delay his U.S. Navy commission to play in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been denied.

Kinley is being required by the Navy to commission as an ensign and is not permitted to appeal the decision, which was not explained, Divine Sports and Entertainment, which represents Kinley, said in a statement.

Kinley, a team captain at Navy and class president, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers and participated in the team’s rookie minicamp, with the Navy’s permission.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Kinley said that he has “spent the past week processing my emotions, as it is very difficult to have been this close to achieving a childhood dream and having it taken away from me.” He also said he “hopes that this situation will soon be overturned and that I can get back to competing on the field and representing the U.S. Navy.”

“As a Naval Academy graduate, football player, and decorated combat veteran I understand Cameron’s commitment,” Divine Sports and Entertainment co-founder Ryan Williams-Jenkins said in the statement. “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. If there is a directive and precedent allowing other service academy athletes to pursue this opportunity, what makes Cameron different? It is important to note that this could have a long-term impact on his mental health going forward. He wants to fulfill both of his childhood dreams, playing in the NFL and honorably serving his country.”

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