Cameron Kinley Cut by Buccaneers, Had Received Exemption from Navy to Attend Camp

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 15, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Cameron Kinley during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
AP Photo/Jason Behnken

Rookie cornerback Cameron Kinley was among those released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Kinley, who played his college football at Navy, received an exemption from United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to delay his military commission in order to pursue an NFL career.

Kinley's request to delay his commission was initially rejected, but Austin later announced that Kinley would be enlisted in the Inactive Ready Reserve for the entirety of his NFL career.

The Bucs waived Kinley, tight end De'Quan Hampton and wide receiver Josh Pearson in an effort to cut their roster down to 85 players before Tuesday's deadline to do so.

Kinley saw extensive action in the Bucs' 19-14 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday. The Navy alum finished with six tackles in the game.

While Kinley didn't put up huge numbers collegiately at Navy, he was a team captain, which underscores his ability to lead.

Over four seasons, Kinley appeared in 27 games at Navy and registered 88 tackles, one interception, one sack, one forced fumble and 12 passes defended.

Kinley faced an uphill climb when it came to making the stacked roster of the defending Super Bowl champions.

Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Ross Cockrell and Jamel Dean seem locked in at corner, which left Kinley to compete with the likes of Antonio Hamilton, Chris Wilcox, Herb Miller, Nate Brooks and Dee Delaney for what was likely one spot.

Kinley's best chance to make the team was perhaps as a major contributor on special teams, but head coach Bruce Arians didn't see enough to keep him past the first round of cuts.

While the release is disappointing, it doesn't mean Kinley's hopes of playing in the NFL in 2021 are over, as there are still three weeks remaining before the start of the regular season, enough time for him to latch on with another team.