What a day for Keenan Reynolds.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the Ravens’ sixth-round wide receiver can defer his military service to play in the NFL – during a speech at Reynolds’ Naval Academy graduation.
As reported first by The Baltimore Sun, classmates cheered the news as Carter said, “Go get ‘em.”
“It is a blessing to hear the news from Defense Secretary Carter today. 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,” Reynolds said in a statement.
“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 Mr. Bisciotti and the Ravens organization for believing in me and giving me this chance.”
Reynolds is Navy’s most prolific player in long, long time. He is the NCAA’s career leader in touchdowns (88) and also threw 31 passing touchdowns as the leader of Navy’s triple-option offense.
But Reynolds has always been about more than just his play on the field. He’s a sterling role model off it as well.
A couple weeks ago, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said he “can’t think of a better ambassador for the United States Navy or the United States military than Keenan Reynolds.”
“When we have guys coming out of the Naval Academy who go on and play professional sports, or go on and do other things that are high profile, it gives us a chance to show who we are and show the type of people that we attract and recruit,” Mabus said.
Reynolds is making the transition to wide receiver and special teams returner in Baltimore. He made a good first impression at rookie minicamp but wasn’t present for this week’s Organized Team Activities because he hadn’t yet graduated.
“This is good news, and congratulations to Keenan on his graduation today,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement.