Keenan Reynolds gets OK from secretary of defense to play in NFL

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Navy's Keenan Reynolds can defer his military service to play in the NFL.

Carter made the announcement Friday during his graduation speech at the Naval Academy. This was considered the final step in allowing Reynolds to play for the Baltimore Ravens.

"It is a blessing to hear the news from Defense Secretary Carter," Reynolds said. "I am truly excited to proudly serve my country while having the ability fulfill my dream of playing for the best organization in the NFL."

It was two weeks ago when Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus submitted a request and "strongly recommended" that Reynolds be cleared to join the NFL after a standout college career.

"This is good news," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said, "and congratulations to Keenan on his graduation today."

The Ravens drafted Reynolds in the sixth round and are looking to turn the triple-option quarterback into a wide receiver and returner in the NFL. He finished his college career as the FBS' all-time leader in total touchdowns (88), rushing yards by a quarterback (4,559) and points scored (530).

Mabus recently said he couldn't think of "a better ambassador for the United States Navy or for the United States military than Keenan Reynolds."

"I would like to thank the Navy for allowing me to represent them while taking advantage of this unique opportunity," Reynolds said.