Cameron Kinley has been hanging onto footballs since his youth. He showed while at Navy that he has the skillsets to play in the NFL. (Photos: Twitter)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military will allow Naval Academy graduate Cameron Kinley – a 2017 graduate of Lausanne Collegiate School – to pursue a career in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Acting Navy Secretary Tom Harker had denied Kinley’s request to delay his commissioning. But Austin on Tuesday reversed that decision, saying that “we know Cameron will take every opportunity on and off the field to ably represent the Navy and the military to the American people and to assist us in our recruiting efforts.”

President Joe Biden said he was “pleased” by Austin’s decision, adding, “I am confident that Cameron will represent the Navy well in the NFL, just as he did as a standout athlete and class president at the Naval Academy.”

In a letter posted Tuesday on Twitter, Kinley wrote: “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, a cornerback, signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent. He will now be able to attend the Buccaneers’ training camp later this month.

Austin said Cameron will be enlisted in the Inactive Ready Reserve during his NFL career, after which “we look forward to welcoming him back inside the ranks as a naval officer.”

Kinley was one of four Memphians on the Naval Academy team that played at the Liberty Bowl in 2019.

Cameron Kinley (Courtesy photo)

A three-sport standout at Lausanne, Kinley earned letters in basketball (1), football (4) and track & field (3). He netted First-Team Div. II All-State (Tenn.) recognition in football his senior year

Kinley’s resume of honors also include him receiving first-team All-Metro and Best of the Preps honors. He served as captain of the football team his senior year.

A two-time all-region track performer who was also twice named Best of Preps, Kinley  served as class secretary as a junior and co-class president as a senior.