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Navy denies Memphian Cameron Kinley’s chance at NFL

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 7:58 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After signing as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, rookie Cameron Kinley participated in the Bucs rookie minicamp. The former Lausanne and Navy Cornerback was living out his NFL dreams after a year as class president and team captain at the Naval Academy.

“Every day when I walked into the facility I was just in awe,” Kinley said. “Being in an NFL facility, especially being in the Super Bowl champions facility. The atmosphere was great.”

Kinley even made some plays at rookie minicamp. Including a pick six on quarterback Kyle Trask.

He then went back to Annapolis to graduate. He gave a graduation speech and met Vice President Kamala Harris. However, when he got there, he got news that he would have to put his NFL dreams on hold. His request to delay his commission was denied by the Secretary of the Navy.

“I was not given an explanation. I was just told it was denied and there was not an appeal process,” he said. “I think that’s the part that’s puzzling me the most right now and not sitting well with me. That I don’t have a reasoning behind it.” Kinley said after he heard the news he, “Commissioned and graduated on Friday, flew back to Tampa to get my stuff and now I’m in Memphis waiting to see if anything can change.”

Kinley tried to get help from Senator Marsha Blackburn’s office, but it wasn’t able to do much. There’s four other rookies in the NFL who submitted requests at the same time as Kinley. They all graduated without commissioning.

“Of course I told my parents when everything first happened. My little brother said, I’m not surprised this happened to you. You wouldn’t be who you are if you didn’t have situations like this occur,” Kinley added.

Adversity hit Kinley just last summer. He was involved in a car crash on his way from Memphis to Annapolis for his senior year at the Naval Academy.

According to Kinley, “It just started sprinkling, hydroplaned. Hit an 18-wheeler and spun out to the side and I was able to walk away from the accident and my car was totaled. It was traumatic for sure but ultimately it showed me God has some plans for my life.”

Kinley said this is probably the biggest hump to get over, but it’s what makes him who he is.

“I was supposed to report for mandatory minicamp today down in Tampa,” Kinley said. “That’s going on this week, so it hurts missing that. It hurt missing OTAs.”

After two years of active duty, Kinley can try to go back to pro football. He said he’ll have that conversation with himself when the time comes.

“I continue to work out, continue to stay ready, but at the same time, I’m also getting ready for my career in the military.”

Kinley has commissioned into an officer of information warfare.

We reached out to the Secretary of the Navy and did not hear back. Cassie Carlson WMC Action News 5.

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