Will it be a dream realized or a dream deferred?
Former Navy Football player and U.S. Naval Academy class president Cameron Kinley will be reporting to Annapolis, Maryland, on Monday for his temporary duty assignment until October.
But, he would rather be heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp.
Kinley found out three days before graduation that acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker denied his request to delay his commissioning. Kinley was also told there is no appeals process. But, he has recently received support from several well known people, including a member of the U.S. Senate.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to President Joe Biden in support of Kinley. Training camp for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers begins July 24. He’s hoping Harker will change his mind or the new, incoming secretary will come to a different decision.
Kinley said he went to the Naval Academy fully aware of his commitment to service and to be the best officer he could be.
“It’s never been about getting out of my commitment. It’s the opportunity to delay my commitment to pursue this dream of playing in the NFL and to serve as an ambassador for the Navy,” Kinley said, adding that when he’s done with football he’ll fulfill his other dream of being a naval officer.
If the decision stands, Kinley can try out for the NFL again in two years like Academy greats Roger Staubach and David Robinson.
“The days have changed, the years have changed, the game is changing. It’s a new time and era,” Kinley said. “I’m an undrafted agent and I have to take my chance and my opportunity while I have it.”
Kinley grew up in a football family.
“From the day I could play football, my dad had one in my hand,” Kinley said.
He is the third of four children in his family.
His father, Richard Kinley, played at Middle Tennessee State University. His younger brother, Richard Jr., is currently a red-shirt freshman at their father’s alma mater.
His older brother, Jonathan Brown, graduated from the University of Illinois and played in the NFL for several years. His older sister, Nia, graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is an educator.
Kinley said his father coached them while growing up and ended up coaching for his high school. He joked that he received his athleticism from his dad and his brains from his mom, Candace, who attended the University of Memphis.