Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to allow Cameron Kinley to attend Bucs minicamp, official says

Navy denies Bucs rookie from delaying service for NFL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cornerback Cameron Kinley and Former Navy Football Player Ryan Williams-Jenkins join ‘Fox & Friends’ to discuss the rookie’s dilemma – and what Sen. Marco Rubio is doing to help.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin overruled the Navy and will allow former Naval Academy football player and class president Cameron Kinley the opportunity to attend training camp later this month with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an official with knowledge of the situation told Fox News on Monday.

The acting Navy secretary, Thomas Harker, had denied Kinley’s request to try out for the Super Bowl champs after he was signed as an undrafted NFL free agent and attended a rookie minicamp in May.

The Buccaneers’ training camp is set to begin July 24.

The Pentagon is expected to make an official announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Kinley didn’t comment on the reversal, but sent a hopeful tweet.

The cornerback signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent but the U.S. Navy denied his request to delay his service despite other NFL players getting approved. Kinley appeared on “Fox & Friends” last month and told co-host Brian Kilmeade he feels like he’s living a “double life.”

“It’s definitely tough,” he said when asked where the process stands. “Kinda living a double life where I’m preparing to be an NFL player still just in case things get reversed and I’m also preparing for my career as an officer in the Navy. I’m kinda living this double life, staying hopeful, staying strong in my faith that things can get turned around.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asked President Biden in a letter to grant Kinley a waiver. He cited past examples of the Defense Department allowing waivers for service members to pursue their pro sports goals.

“Mr. Kinley is not seeking to terminate his commitment to the Navy. Far from it. He wishes to promote service to our great nation from one of the country’s largest stages. I implore you to right this wrong,” Rubio wrote. “Grant Mr. Kinley’s waiver to play in the NFL, and send a message to future academy graduates that the United States is a country where Americans can follow their dreams and be true to their commitment.”

Kinley has said he wasn’t trying to avoid going into the military, but just to delay it.

“I definitely made the commitment. I made the commitment when I decided to go to the Naval Academy. I made the commitment when I signed my contract before my junior year and I’m still willing to honor that commitment,” Kinley added. “I just want to be able to delay my commission to play in the NFL first and be that ambassador for the Navy and help recruit. And after my time in the NFL, go serve as an officer in the Navy. I’m definitely looking forward to that career.”

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