Ravens rookie receiver Keenan Reynolds got the unofficial thumbs up from his boss Thursday.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus joined "The Dan Patrick Show" Thursday morning to talk about Reynolds's unique circumstances.
"I'm confident that we can work something out for Keenan to do both, to serve his country and to play professional football," Mabus said.
Mabus said there is a process for this to go through for final approval and it hasn't reached his desk yet.
"There are a lot of paths to both play and to serve," he said.
As a graduate of the Naval Academy, Reynolds is obligated to a five-year military term, requiring him to go directly into active duty. That would definitely interfere with his football future.
However, the Navy has a precedent of working with certain graduates to accommodate both career and duty.
Mabus said he thought it was "terrific" when Reynolds was drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens.
"Keenan Reynolds is one of the finest people that I know. He is just a sterling individual. If I'm an NFL coach or GM, he's the kind of person I want in my locker room."
Times have changed since Roger Staubach and NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson had to sit out five and two years, respectively, before beginning their sports careers.
The New England Patriots drafted long snapper Joe Cardona last year, and he was granted permission to play. In order to make that arrangement work, Cardona spent one day a week working at a naval facility in Rhode Island. He also spent evenings on the job for the Navy.
Mabus said Cardona has now been assigned to a ship, so he's going to report to that vessel. That may require him to leave the Patriots for a year or so, the secretary said.
There are other Naval Academy graduates juggling this situation as well. Joe Greenspan plays for the Colorado Rapids of the MLS while on active duty and assigned to a ship. Mitch Harris is a relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
"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.
"I can't think of a better ambassador for the United States Navy or for the United States military than Keenan Reynolds."