Buccaneers defensive back Cameron Kinley learned this week that he will be going to training camp, rather than having to start active duty in the U.S. Navy.
Kinley, a recent Naval Academy graduate, told ESPN that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had called him personally to break the news to him.
“I was just in shock to be on the phone with the Secretary of Defense,” Kinley said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “But he informed me that he made the decision to overturn the decision and he was happy that he made the decision. He said it was the right decision and he was just waiting for me to take advantage of it.
Kinley had already been informed that he would be required to begin military service immediately. This came as a surprise, as the Pentagon has generally allowed graduates of service academies who aspire to become professional athletes to delay their service until the end of their athletic career.
Finally, the Pentagon also let Kinley play. He realizes, however, that he is no lock in being a part of the Buccaneers roster and that he will need to have an impressive training camp to be part of the squad.
“It’s kind of the state of mind I’ve had since I started playing football,” Kinley said. “Don’t let anyone outdo you and give yourself 110%. So I’m excited about it. I definitely have a chip on my shoulder.
Kinley will eventually serve as an active-duty Navy officer, but he hopes it will be after a long career in the NFL.