TAMPA, Fla. — Undrafted Buccaneers' cornerback Cameron Kinley has had his request to delay his commission to play in the NFL denied by the U.S. Navy, according to his agency.
Divine Sports and Entertainment say Kinley is being required to commission into the Navy as an Ensign unlike those at other service academies who also signed NFL contacts this year.
"Kinley signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was approved by the U.S. Navy to participate in rookie minicamp when he has been a standout. Due to unexplained reasons, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker has denied Kinley's request to delay his commission," the agency wrote in a press release.
It also claims Kinley is being denied a fair process and his dream of playing in the NFL by not being given an opportunity to appeal the decision.
"As a Naval Academy graduate, football player, and decorated combat veteran I understand Cameron's commitment. I also understand there are ways he can fulfill his commitment while representing the Navy and playing professional sports," Divine Sports and Entertainment Co-Founder Ryan Williams-Jenkins said, in part.
In response, Kinley wrote a letter to his state Sen. Marsha Blackburn, saying the decision to deny his petition is inconsistent with a memorandum allowing service academy graduates to delay the beginning of their active military service to pursue professional sports.
“I do not know why my request was denied, as I have received no written explanation for this decision," he added.
The cornerback also cites being "puzzled" by four other NFL players, who attended different service academies, being allowed to delay commission.
Kinley released a statement Monday regarding his denial saying he has "spent the past week processing [his] emotions, as it is very difficult to have been this close to achieving a childhood dream and having it taken away."
"I am very aware of the commitment that I made to serve when I first arrived at the United States Naval Academy. I look forward to my career as a naval officer in the information warfare community. However, I am deserving of the opportunity to live out another one of my life-long dreams before fulfilling my service requirement," Kinley wrote, in part.
Head coach Bruce Arians recently lauded Kinley's leadership and performance during minicamp. In May, the cornerback made an impressive interception off of Bucs draft, Kyle Trask, during minicamp.
10 Sports reporter Grace Remington reports Arians said he had "goosebumps" while listening to Kinley's commencement speech at the Naval Academy.
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