Cameron Kinley's Request to Delay Commission to Pursue NFL Career Denied by US Navy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 7, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 05: Cameron Kinley #3 of the Navy Midshipmen carries an American flag as the team takes the field against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Undrafted free agent cornerback Cameron Kinley has to put his NFL dreams on hold.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the U.S. Navy has denied Kinley's request "to delay his commission to play in the NFL." Per Schefter, "Kinley is being required to commission into the U.S. Navy as an Ensign."

Kinley signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had a shot to make the team as its fifth cornerback. The Navy's surprising denial of his request caught his agent off guard:

Greg Auman @gregauman

This goes against recent precedent with players in NFL camps. Kinley had been hopeful he would be granted a waiver to join the Bucs ... https://t.co/7lSuOdF1sk https://t.co/NHrpfPI8gQ

Greg Auman @gregauman

With Bucs rookie Cameron Kinley being denied by the U.S. Navy a waiver to join the Bucs, his agent Ryan Williams-Jenkins issued this statement and quote: pic.twitter.com/hLRQ7dS974

Kinley issued a statement of his own reacting to the denial of his request:

Cameron Kinley @ck3thethrill

My personal statement regarding the Navy's denial of my request to delay my service: pic.twitter.com/AsNLEPdF1Z

Kinley was his U.S. Naval Academy class president for the past two years and delivered a speech at his graduation May 28.

"Choose to be the light at all times," he said, per Greg Auman of The Athletic. "Make sure you lead by example, but more importantly, lead with humility. Your legacy will not be solely measured by your accomplishments, but rather by the impact that you left on the lives of others."

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said last week he "got goosebumps" when he watched the graduation speech and called Kinley a "tremendous young man."

While Kinley wasn't guaranteed to make the team—he likely would have had to prove himself as a special teams contributor—his dream to play in the NFL has been put on hold.