Eric Kettani’s Military Obligation Reminiscent of Caleb Campbell

About 10 days ago, Eric Kettani was released from the practice squad of the New England Patriots.  The reason for his release: Kettani was called to active duty by the United States Navy.  Kettani subsequently reported for duty, but is appealing the Navy’s decision denying him leave to continue his professional football career.

According to the Nashua Telegraph, Kettani’s appeal is based upon the precedent set by current NFL players Caleb Campbell and Chad Hall:

Kettani is appealing the decision based largely on the fact [that] a pair of recent Army and Air Force graduates are being allowed to pursue NFL careers after serving just two years on active duty. Former Army defensive back Caleb Campbell is on the practice squad of the Indianapolis Colts while former Air Force wide receiver Chad Hall is on the practice squad of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kettani, a 2008 graduate of the Naval Academy, was on the Military Reserve list for the Patriots while serving two years of active duty. This most recent decision means Kettani must serve three more years of active duty, effectively ending his NFL career.

Kettani’s situation not only produced a cool photo of his Patriots throwback helmet next to his Navy cap, but it reminded me of the case of Army’s Caleb Campbell. 

Campbell’s initial situation was different from that of Kettani.  Campbell sought to play in the NFL before serving two years of active duty based upon an Army policy that changed after his window to transfer from West Point had closed.  Kettani’s appeal is reportedly based on the treatment of Campbell and Hall, both of whom are on NFL practice squads after serving two years on active duty.

The story is a good reminder of the military obligations of service academy graduates.  Also, it is a good lesson for athletes interested in attending one of the service academies, who must be aware that their military obligations could interfere with and possibly eliminate their opportunities to become professional athletes.

To revisit Campbell’s story, see my article Timing Pattern: Department of Defense Decision on Caleb Campbell Lacks Thought, Fairness.


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