BOSTON (CBS) — Shortly after the Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars wrapped up their joint practice in Foxboro on Monday, New England long snapper Joe Cardona rushed off the field for the locker room.
He wasn’t gone for long, though, and soon after, Cardona was back on the field in a different uniform.
On Monday, Cardona had a truly unique opportunity, one he couldn’t pass up. In addition to snapping footballs for the Patriots, Cardona is commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserves. So after practice, he did his best Superman impression and traded in his helmet and shoulder pads for his Navy uniform. He rushed back onto the field and performed a reenlistment ceremony for two of his fellow naval officers stationed in Newport, Rhode Island.
“They approached me, personally, and asked if I would do it for them. When someone comes out of their way and asks you to do their reenlistment, they’re saying they want you to be part of their service story and have an important part [of their career]. The fact they deem me willing or deserving, that is something I take a lot of pride in,” Cardona explained to reporters down at Gillette Stadium. “They’re signing up for a few more years of service, and when they asked me to perform the reenlistment, I jumped at the opportunity.”
When he approached the organization about the reenlistment ceremony, Cardona said the team jumped at the chance to help and make such a big day even more special for a pair of naval officers.
“When I mentioned it to the organization that they have someone interested in doing a reenlistment, these are the dates that it falls under, it was something that they jumped on board and said, ‘We are going to make it a special opportunity for the member any anyone who was out here today.’ I think it made it a special opportunity for everyone out here,” said Cardona.
So the Patriots made Monday Military Appreciation Day at Gillette and welcomed 80-100 service members from all five branches to the joint practice session. Both teams took time to greet the group after the session, and Cardona said having everyone on hand for the reenlistment ceremony made it a day he won’t soon forget.
“To do it in front of all the fans, in front of the many members of the military that were here as well and my teammates, that was really cool,” he said. “I’m just happy to be part of that moment for the service members.”