“It is a blessing to hear the news from Defense Secretary Carter today,” Reynolds said. “I am truly excited to proudly serve my country while having the ability fulfill my dream of playing for the best organization in the NFL.
“I would like to thank the Navy for allowing me to represent them while taking advantage of this unique opportunity. I would also like to thank [team owner Steve] Bisciotti and the Ravens organization for believing in me and giving me this chance.”
Other former military academy players have had to go back and forth between their professional athletic pursuits, but as early as the beginning of May, Reynolds’s pro dreams seemed to have a better shot than some of those that have come before him. In a May 5 appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus told Patrick he was doing “everything [he] can” to help Reynolds receive the required clearance to play.
While some have derided the decision as a misuse of government funds — the argument being that Reynolds is shirking his commitment and thus wasting the Academy’s investment — Mabus reiterated that the Navy still plans on using Reynolds, even if he’s on an NFL sideline for the foreseeable future.
In his interview with Patrick, Mabus suggested Reynolds will lend a hand with the Navy’s outreach and advertising projects while he competes in the league.
“If Keenan’s playing for the Ravens, and he’s going out recruiting for the Navy and making appearances for us, that’s a great way for him to serve,” Mabus said. “He’s going to attract a lot of the great talent we need to stay in the Navy.”
Since drafting Reynolds, the Ravens have stated their intention to work out the NCAA career touchdowns leader as a wide receiver and special-teams return specialist. Reynolds recently participated in Baltimore’s rookie minicamp but missed this past week’s OTAs because of the Academy’s graduation activities.