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Navy grad Cameron Kinley granted permission to attend Buccaneers training camp after previously being denied

On Tuesday, former Navy defensive back Cameron Kinley was granted permission to attend the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Kinley, who was the Naval Academy team captain and class president, was previously denied in his request to delay his commission to play in the NFL — and also had his ability to repeal revoked. However, this all changed when secretary of defense, Retired General Lloyd Austin, granted Kinley the ability to chase his NFL dream. 

Kinley’s agents at Divine Sports & Entertainment said in a statement that they took a “strategic approach” in advocating for Kinley’s football career, and ensured that his story was told. They also thanked the NFL league office, the NFLPA, United States Congress and all public relations outlets that worked directly with them on Kinley’s behalf. 

Kinley released this statement following the development:

“Today I was informed the Secretary of Defense will be allowing me to continue my journey with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and attend training camp at the end of this month. 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.

Sometimes in life God tells us to be still. We do not always understand what He is trying to show us, but He always has an ultimate plan. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned throughout this whole process is to trust His timing and remain confident in the fact that God will always prevail.

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. 

I would like to give a special thanks to my agency, Divine Sports & Entertainment, for their tireless efforts to work through this situation. Not only have they done a great job representing me, but Michael De Sane and Ryan Williams-Jenkins made sure to check on me and ensure that I was keeping my head up.

I would also like to say thank you to DeMaurice Smith, Joe Briggs and the NFLPA, the NFL league office, Senator Marco Rubio, Representative John Garamendi, Representative Austin Scott, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., various USNA alumni and the many others for their efforts. Also, I’d like to extend my gratitude to all the media outlets who reached out to help share my story.

Lastly, thank you to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization for believing in me and remaining patient with me throughout this process. I am excited to get back to work in Tampa Bay with my teammates.” 

As CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin noted in his original story, the Department of Defense barred players from delaying their commissions in 2017. The policy was reversed in 2019, however, and some players were allowed exemptions.

Kinley, who went undrafted in the 2021 NFL Draft, spent minicamp with the Buccaneers, but this development gives him the chance to truly compete for a roster spot. In four years at Navy, he recorded 88 total tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble and 12 passes defensed. 




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