Rookie cornerback Cameron Kinley announced Tuesday that he has been informed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that he will be allowed to delay his U.S. Navy commission to attend training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers later this month.
The news comes after Kinley’s request to delay his commission to play in the NFL had initially been denied.
“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,” Kinley said in a statement Tuesday.
Kinley thanked the NFL Players Association, the NFL league office and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., among others in his statement.
— Cameron Kinley (@ck3thethrill) July 6, 2021
Rubio had written a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to assist Kinley in delaying his commission with the Navy so he could attend training camp with the Buccaneers.
Kinley was not given an explanation why Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker declined to send Kinley’s deferment package to the secretary of defense and was told he could not appeal the decision.
After the Navy’s decision, Kinley, who is from Memphis, wrote a letter to Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., for her help in approaching the Navy to change its decision.
Kinley, a team captain at Navy and class president, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers and participated in the team’s rookie minicamp with the Navy’s permission. At that minicamp he intercepted a pass thrown by Buccaneers quarterback Kyle Trask.
“I thought he showed promising signs when he was here,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said of Kinley.