The Ravens took a risk drafting Keenan Reynolds in the 6th round. Baltimore knew Reynolds was a play maker as shown by Navy records in Wins and Passing TD. What’s more Reynolds holds career FBS records in Rushing TD’s, Rushing yards of a QB, and points scored.
Reynolds may not be a stereotypical QB. Much like Tim Tebow, he’s a great leader and locker room guy who is going to make the Ravens better. The caveat is that it’s all dependent on the Navy letting him play football.
Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the Navy, went on the Dan Patrick show to discuss Reynolds’ future on Thursday. First, I find it interesting that there are at least 3 other professional athletes who have had this issue, but only Keenan Reynolds has gotten this publicity. I believe it’s because Reynolds holds so many records, and could contribute significantly in the NFL. The other three players are Joe Greenspan (soccer), Joe Cardona (long-snapper, Patriots), and Mitch Harris (reliever, St. Louis Cardinals). None of those other three players have as much potential for fame as Reynolds does.
Mabus said that there is precedent for professional athletes being able to play and serve at the same time. Last year, Cardona was able to serve the Navy by working nights and working once per week at a Naval Prep school in Rhode Island. The situation wasn’t ideal, but the Navy and Patriots were able to make it work. Sadly, Cardona was assigned to a ship for the coming year, and may be forced to leave the Patriots to serve his tour. It appears that it would only be a one year commitment before having the opportunity to serve as a reserve for his final three years.
Likewise, Joe Greenspan is a Midfielder for the Colorado Rapids. He was able to play his rookie season while living up to his Naval requirements. But, this season, he’s being assigned to work on a ship and will miss his Soccer season.
Finally, Mitch Harris was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. He signed a contract, but wasn’t able to play in the Cardinals’ system until 2013. He was required to serve his full 5 years before starting his career.
So, what does this mean for Keenan Reynolds? I think the Navy will do their best to keep Reynolds in football. That opinion is a bit of a PR move, but I think they Navy can find someone to replace Reynolds in active duty so that he can maintain a football career. This is only made easier by the fact that the Naval Academy is about 35 minutes away from the Ravens’ stadium.
I believe Reynolds will make it into and through his rookie campaign. I believe the worst case scenario would put Reynolds in active duty (on a ship) in what would be his second year. The Navy has shown a willingness to try and accommodate athletes. The Ravens may have been the best fit for Reynolds because of their proximity to the Naval Academy. With that in mind, Reynolds may be able to play a full career without missing any time because of his military service. That being said, it’s going to take a lot of dedication to carry two separate careers, even if it’s only 5 years.