A lot of athletes are being very active in voicing their opinions in today's political climate. But not all athletes are Keenan Reynolds, a Baltimore Ravens wide receiver who also is in the Navy Reserves.
"It's definitely a trying time to be able to balance the military side of it and not say anything versus people feeling like you're an athlete and your voice can really be heard and make waves," Reynolds told ESPN's Paul Kuharsky and Nashville's Midday 180. "That's a tricky situation to be in, and it's something I've thought about a lot."
Reynolds was one of the most decorated players in Navy history as a triple-option quarterback, finishing as the FBS all-time leader in total touchdowns and winning more games than any other quarterback in school history. He was drafted in the sixth round as a receiver and a returner, spending most of last season on the practice squad.
When it comes to being a member of the military, Reynolds insisted you have to respect the chain of command and he said he would never criticize it when representing the Navy. There is, however, times when he faces an internal conflict.
"There are a few things, from a personal standpoint, that I disagree with," said Reynolds, who declined to detail the specific issues. "But I think that's the beauty of this country. We can disagree and speak out our voice and air their voices on what they believe and be able to do so peacefully."
Reynolds is still looking to establish himself as a professional athlete. He went from being the star college quarterback to a scout team wide receiver in the NFL.
The challenge of changing positions and roles at the highest level weighed on him.
"It was a grueling year for me, mentally, physically, the whole nine," Reynolds said. "It was definitely trying. It tested my patience and how bad I wanted to play."
The Ravens showed their level of confidence in Reynolds before the final game of the season, when they promoted him to the 53-man roster. That allowed Baltimore to maintain his rights as an exclusive rights free agent.
There is still a learning curve for Reynolds, who tried to pick up the nuances and the detailed preparation of the position by watching Steve Smith, Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken. Reynolds continues to work on getting off the line and creating separation with his route running.
Another adjustment for Reynolds in going from quarterback to receiver is that he's not the one relaying the plays. He is now listening in the huddle, and the plays at Navy were a lot shorter.
"If it's a long play, you have to hear every part of the play and be able to roll," Reynolds said. "When he says, 'break,' he's not waiting on you to think about 'Where do I line up? What do I do?' You got to get to your spot and be ready to go."
He fulfills his obligation with the Navy Reserves on the first weekend of every month.
"That's part of the reason why I can't go to the Super Bowl," Reynolds said. "I have to get back to Maryland and do my drilling."