TAMPA (WFLA) – – Cameron Kinley, an undrafted rookie cornerback from the United States Naval Academy will be able to pursue his NFL dream with the Buccaneers following new approval.
Kinley made the announcement on his Twitter page with the approval coming from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
In a letter posted Tuesday on Twitter, Kinley wrote: “I am extremely appreciative of Secretary Austin’s decision and I am excited to represent our fine military in the National Football League. This past month has been very challenging and I am thankful for everyone who has supported me in any way.”
“Thank you to my village for standing beside me. Without my family and close friends, there is no way I would be where I am today,” Kinley said on Twitter.
Acting Navy Secretary Tom Harker had denied Kinley’s request to delay his commissioning. But Austin reversed that decision, saying that “we know Cameron will take every opportunity on and off the field to ably represent the Navy and the military to the American people and to assist us in our recruiting efforts.”
Kinley, a cornerback, signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent. He will now be able to attend the Buccaneers’ training camp later this month.
President Joe Biden said he was “pleased” by Austin’s decision, adding, “I am confident that Cameron will represent the Navy well in the NFL, just as he did as a standout athlete and class president at the Naval Academy.”
Austin said Cameron will be enlisted in the Inactive Ready Reserve during his NFL career, after which “we look forward to welcoming him back inside the ranks as a naval officer.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report