Dover, Del.- You may remember the name Joe Cardona from the 2015 NFL Draft.
The New England Patriots shocked the football world when they used their fifth-round draft pick, usually designated to acquire “skill positions,” to select the Naval Academy long-snapper.
While being the 166th overall pick in the NFL draft is quite an accomplishment, it does not excuse the Navy graduate from his military duty to serve.
As the university’s websites states, “Your service commitment begins at graduation, when you are commissioned as an ensign in the Navy or a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.”
Five years is the typical active duty requirements for Navy graduates. Balancing the NFL with any other commitment can be difficult but Cardona is doing just that.
You can find him at both Gillette Stadium with the Patriots and in Newport, Rhode Island as a student mentor at the Naval Academy Prep School. He also helps with coaching for the academy’s football team.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is fully aware of the service commitment that Navy players bring. In fact, is it no surprise that Belichick is partial to Navy players. His father Steve Belichick coached there from 1958-89.
Although Cardona is balancing two vastly different jobs, he’s been preparing to be a long snapper from a young age.
According to NFL.com, Cardona was taught to long snap at the age of five and his snaps have been timed at 41 mph. The former midshipmen player stands at 6-foot-3-inches and played every game in his senior year.