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Bruce Arians on Navy defensive back Cameron Kinley: ‘We’d love to have him back’

The rookie free agent’s request to have his commission delayed was denied.
Navy cornerback Cameron Kinley defends Tulane wide receiver Darnell Mooney during a 2019 game. Kinley, who joined the Bucs in May as an undrafted free agent, was stunned to recently learn his request to have his Navy commission delayed was denied.
Navy cornerback Cameron Kinley defends Tulane wide receiver Darnell Mooney during a 2019 game. Kinley, who joined the Bucs in May as an undrafted free agent, was stunned to recently learn his request to have his Navy commission delayed was denied. [ JULIO CORTEZ | Associated Press (2019) ]
Published Jun. 8
Updated Jun. 8

TAMPA — While Bucs coach Bruce Arians doesn’t seem inclined to get involved in defensive back Cameron Kinley’s attempt to have his Navy commission delayed, he has a message of reassurance for the rookie.

“If he can get free by training camp,” Arians said, “we’d love to have him back.”

Kinley, an undrafted free agent from Navy who made a solid impression at the Bucs’ recent rookie minicamp, was left dumbfounded and distraught upon learning his request to have his commission delayed was denied by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker.

According to Kinley’s agent, Ryan Williams-Jenkins, the Navy had told Kinley they would delay his commission — a fairly common concession for NFL prospects — so he could also pursue a pro career.

“He’s obviously very, very important to the Navy,” Arians said Tuesday following the first practice of the Bucs’ three-day mandatory minicamp.

“It’s kind of a catch-22. I know he wants to attempt to be a professional football player, but he obviously means a ton to the Navy. So I’ll leave that up to them. Would love to have him, because I thought he showed promising signs when he was here.”

Among those signs was a pick-six of fellow rookie Kyle Trask during last month’s rookie minicamp. The U.S. Naval Academy’s 2021 class president and captain of the football team, Kinley totaled 87 tackles, an interception and 13 pass breakups in four seasons for the Midshipmen.

The Bucs are set to begin training camp July 24, giving Kinley roughly six weeks to see if the Navy will overturn its decision — though Harker isn’t even allowing him to appeal it.

“He would miss a lot,” Arians said, “but yeah, he’s a very bright young man.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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