May 14, 2021; Tampa Bay, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers corner back Cameron Kinley (26) practices during rookie mini-camp at AdventHealth Training Center Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Sen. Marco Rubio asks for military delay for Bucs’ rookie

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is appealing to President Joe Biden and other Washington officials, asking them to allow Naval Academy graduate Cameron Kinley to delay his military service and pursue an NFL career.

Kinley was a starter at cornerback and the Naval Academy class president in his senior season, but went undrafted and accepted a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His request to be allowed to play this season with the Bucs was denied on June 7.

Kinley is due to report Monday, as things stand.

“Here’s the bottom line. People got to do it last year,” Rubio said on “Fox & Friends.” “There are people playing in the NFL now — Malcolm Perry, that came out of Navy, plays for the Miami Dolphins — so last year they were allowed. So this sounds arbitrary … He’s not saying he’s not going to do his service. He will.”

Instead of lining up against Tom Brady in training camp, Kinley could be an ensign and serving as an information warfare officer.

“It’s definitely tough,” Kinley said Tuesday on “Fox & Friends.” “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.”

On Sunday, Rubio sent a letter to Biden asking for his assistance.

“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 said.

“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 said he has passion for both careers.

“I definitely made the commitment … and I’m still willing to honor that commitment,” Kinley said. “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.”

–Field Level Media