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Joe Cardona named the Patriots’ Salute to Service Award nominee for a 7th straight year

Carolina Panthers v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have decided to name long snapper Joe Cardona as their nominee for the NFL’s 2022 Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. Cardona is no stranger to this honor: the Patriots have nominated him each year since 2016.

Cardona originally arrived in New England as a fifth-round draft selection in 2015. Only the fourth ever long snapper to hear his name called on draft day, the Navy product went on to become a core member of the Patriots’ kicking game operation: he helped bring two Super Bowls to Foxborough and earned a four-year contract extension in 2018.

His loyalties are not limited to the Patriots, though, as he also continues to serve in the U.S. Navy. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2020 and has also led numerous military support initiatives over the course of his eight-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 recognized 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 was only logical to see the Patriots yet again make the 30-year-old their nominee for the Salute to Service Award.

Team owner Robert Kraft himself broke the news to Cardona:

The award will be given out as part of the NFL Honors ceremony ahead of the Super Bowl, to the finalist who is deemed to best fulfill the criteria the panel of judges is looking for. The finalists — Cardona was one of them in 2020 — will be evaluated “based on the positive effect of the individual’s efforts on the military community, the type of service conducted, the thoroughness of the program and level of commitment.”