Washington Redskins fullback Eric Kettani is like many other football players who came before him. He just wants to have a successful career in the National Football League.
However, Kettani isn't like most NFL players in the fact that he is also in the midst of serving an active duty commitment with the Navy.
Kettani, who was promoted to lieutenant in June, said in an interview on NFL Network that people have criticized him for making an arrangement with the Navy to go to the NFL before completing the five years of active service required of Naval Academy graduates. In 2009, Kettani agreed to do public affairs and recruiting work for the Navy in exchange for allowing him to leave active duty to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
“I received some hate mail, saying, ‘Go back to the military, do your job, and do what you signed up for.’ They have every right to say that,” Kettani said.
Kettani spent two years in active service after graduating from the Naval Academy in 2009 and then was told that he’d be allowed to go to the NFL. At the start of the 2011 season he was on the Patriots’ practice squad, but the Navy reversed course and told him to report to active duty. In 2012 the Navy reversed course again and allowed him to go back to the NFL.
Kettani believes there are similarities between the Navy and NFL.
“I’ll talk about my direct correlation between the NFL and the military and how it relates,” Kettani said. “When I’m in the Navy, I’m trusting the guy next to me does his job same as the NFL.”
The Department of Defense allows Naval Academy graduates with "unique talents and abilities" to request early release after two years of active duty. Kettani served a full three years for making his request.
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