By Debbie Gregory.
It could be said that Joe Cardona is an overachiever. He is a Navy ensign at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island, where he is temporarily assigned while awaiting deployment. He is also the rookie long-snapper for the New England Patriots.
It’s not an easy schedule but Cardona, who as a graduate of the Naval Academy has a five-year commitment to serve, has learned to handle it.
“It’s just showing up and doing your job every single day,” he said. “I think the preparation that the Naval Academy has given me has prepared me really well to take on the responsibilities on both ends.”
Coach Bill Belichick made the unusual move of drafting Cardona in the fifth round. A native of El Cajon, California, Cardona was long snapper for four years at Navy – only the second freshman in school history to start.
Belichick has a personal connection with the service, as his father was a coach for the Naval Academy football team, as a well as an associate professor of physical education.
What Cardona is doing, Belichick said, is not unusual for someone from the Naval Academy.
“He has two jobs so that’s more challenging, but that’s something that people like Joe who have been in the Naval Academy have experience with – time management and multitasking … and handling different levels of responsibility, both physically, mentally and emotionally. I’d say he’s overall done a good job of balancing that,” Belichick said.
Cardona splits his time between Newport, Rhode Island, where he works at the Naval Preparatory Academy and Foxborough, Massachusetts, where he attends all Patriot practices, meetings and games. As the Patriots continue their winning season, Cardona remains a crucial part of the team, switching in and out from his naval uniform to his football uniform each week.