Ever since he entered the NFL in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Joe Cardona has been able to juggle two jobs. As a member of the New England Patriots, the long snapper appeared in 75 regular season and playoff games over the last four seasons and helped the team win two Super Bowl titles. In the meantime, the Naval Academy graduate also served his country through his enlistment with the Navy.
And as he established himself as a key member of the Patriots’ special teams operation, Cardona also rose through the military ranks: the 27-year-old went from ensign to Lieutenant Junior Grade at the Navy reserves over the last four years. On Thursday — on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landing on the coast of France — he took the next step in his ‘other’ career: Cardona can now officially call himself Lieutenant.
“Getting promoted to Lieutenant, it’s a big accomplishment personally,” he told WEEI. “It hasn’t always been easy to balance my two careers, but just to get to share it with my teammates was a big deal for me — to share it with the people that I am working day in and day out with. [...] With each rank you get you get more responsibility and more is expected of you. I am going to continue to do the very best that I can off the field.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also shared his thoughts on Cardona’s promotion following the team’s final minicamp practice. “It’s pretty emotional, you know? You see someone who takes the oath like that and raises his hand, and it’s a big commitment Joe’s made,” said Brady. “I think Joe does it very proudly and he does a great job educating a lot of us on what it means to him. I think we all appreciate that.”
“We see the work that he does here for us, but also the work that he does for our country,” Brady continued. “I’ve talked to Joe a lot over the years about what his roles and responsibility are and I think everyone’s proud of his accomplishments. As proud as you are to win a Super Bowl ring, to advance in that part of his career is pretty amazing. So, to do both is really a great thing for him personally and nice to be able to celebrate and congratulate with him.”