Navy lieutenant receives 'hate mail' for pursuing NFL dream

Former Patriot and current Naval officer Eric Kettani has received some hate mail for trying to make his NFL dream come true. (USATSI)
Eric Kettani is an officer in the Navy and has received hate mail for wanting to play in the NFL. (USATSI)

Sometimes writing hate mail makes sense, like when you're sending it to's Gregg Doyel. He likes it.

Then sometimes, hate mail doesn't make any sense at all, like when people send it to a Naval officer who's trying to make it in the NFL. That's what happened to U.S. Navy Lieutenant and current Washington Redskins fullback Eric Kettani. 

Kettani told the NFL Network this week that not everyone's on board with his dream of making it in the NFL. 

"I received some hate mail, saying, 'Go back to the military, do your job, and do what you signed up for," Kettani said. "They have every right to say that." 

Telling Kettani to 'Go back to the military' isn't exactly fair or smart or informed.

Here's a little background on Redskins fullback: After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009, Kettani signed as an udrafted free agent with the Patriots. However, Kettani served two years in active service before joining New England in 2011.

Kettani made the Patriots practice squad in 2011, but he lasted less than two months there because he was called back to active duty by the Navy in October of 2011.  

"It's tough," Kettani said of being called back to active duty. "You work so hard for something, and it's taken away. But that's what I signed up for, so I can't complain."

Kettani then requested an early release from active duty, which he was granted in April 2012. Kettani's request wasn't all that odd. The Department of Defense has a policy in place that allows Naval Academy graduates with "unique talents and abilities" to request an early release from active duty after two years of service to pursue a professional sport. 

After being granted his release, Kettani rejoined the Patriots, but that didn't last long. New England cut Kettani in August. The Navy Lieutenant was then signed by the Redskins in September and spent the 2012 season on Washington's practice squad. 

The Navy and Kettani finally have a deal in place that will allow him to try to make his NFL dream come true. Kettani's arrangement with the Navy calls for him to do public affairs and recruiting work for the next seven years. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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