Typically, NFL teams do not invest draft picks in long snappers. The New England Patriots, however, are not your typical NFL team, which is why seeing them select the Naval Academy’s Joe Cardona in the fifth round of the 2015 draft did not come as a surprise. Cardona has since become a core member of the team’s kicking game operation, earned a four-year contract extension in 2018, and has won two Super Bowls.
Cardona’s loyalties are not limited to the Patriots, though, as he also continues to serves in the U.S. Navy. Not only was he promoted to Lieutenant earlier this offseason, he has also led numerous military support initiatives over the course of his four-year career in the NFL: Cardona has hosted over a dozen special re-enlistment and retirement ceremonies, and free football clinics for military children at military bases all over New England.
In 2018, Cardona was furthermore named as the organization’s Ron Burton Community Service Award winner for his exemplary work off the field. Given his commitment to pro football, the Navy and numerous charitable causes, it is only logical to see the Patriots make the 27-year old their nominee for the 2019 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA — the fourth straight year that the team has picked him as a nominee.
The award, which is handed out annually since 2011, honors NFL members, who demonstrate “exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community”. Finalists will be announced in January, while the actual award will be given out as part of the NFL Honors ceremony on February 1.