Eric Kettani is a true Patriot.
The former U.S. Naval Academy fullback and New England Patriots practice squad player has been called for immediate duty onboard the USS Klakring, according to NBC Connecticut. Kettani, who took a large step toward realizing his NFL dream by joining the Patriots' practice squad this year, has been an active member of the Navy Reserve for some time.
“I love my country and I’m happy to serve it, but I’m also happy to be a New England Patriot,” Kettani told ESPN.com.
According to NBC he did request leave in order to stay with the Patriots, but recently found out it had been denied. “As our nation is at war, it is important to ensure we maintain our commitment to the nation’s defense,” the letter from the Navy said. “As such, a release from active duty would be inconsistent with that effort."
Kettani ships out Friday at 6 a.m. EDT according to ESPN.
Whether or not the decision is fair or consistent remains in question. According to Yahoo Sports, other player have been exempted from service in the past.
Kettani is appealing the decision, Reiss reports, in part because Indianapolis Colts practice squad linebacker Caleb Campbell (Army) and Philadelphia Eagles practice squad receiver Chad Hall (Air Force) have been able to continue their NFL careers.
All players graduating from the Navy Academy have to fullfill a 5-year commitment upon graduation. Kettani, who became the second player in the school's history to rush for at least 2,000 yards, was prevented from attending the 2009 scouting combine because of military obligations, according to Yahoo.