Washington Redskins fullback Eric Kettani’s decision to take time off from the US Navy, where he has reached the rank of lieutenant has has served three years of active duty after graduating from the Naval Academy in 2009, has not been a popular one.
Kettani was assigned to a counter-terrorism down in South America. He described the situation to the NFL Network:
We went down to South America, off the coast of Columbia doing drug interdiction operations. We were out there surveilling and trying to find go-fasters. … drug boats that were trying to carry drugs from South America, Central America to the United States
Kettani has a deal in place with the Navy where he can serve for seven years in the reserves doing public-affairs work while he tries to secure a place on an NFL roster. It took months of negotiations to set the terms of the arrangement. Kettani said he’s been criticized harshly for leaving the service early:
Absolutely, I received some hate mail, saying ‘go back to the military, do your job and do what you signed up for.’ And they have every right to say that.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has praised Kettani’s work ethic and dedication, calling him an “overachiever” and “very intelligent.”