Record-setting former Navy star Malcolm Perry retires from professional football

Former Navy standout Malcolm Perry has retired from professional football and is looking forward to serving his five-year military commitment, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the move told The Capital.

The New England Patriots placed Perry on the reserve/retired list on Friday. Pro Football Focus subsequently reported that Perry retired to embark on his Naval career. Perry, whose service assignment was Marine Corps, will reenter the Navy by taking his Oath of Office then will likely report to The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.


Perry did not respond to voice and text messages seeking comment. Perry’s agent, Jason Bernstein of Clarity Sports International, declined comment and referred all questions to his client.

Perry was the first service academy athlete to benefit from a Department of Defense policy that allowed Air Force, Army and Navy graduates to pursue professional sports immediately following graduation.


Per the terms of Directive-Type Memorandum 19-011, those athletes approved for the policy are allowed to graduate but are not commissioned as officers. Whenever their professional careers are complete, those individuals are commissioned and must serve their mandatory military requirement of at least five years.

Perry was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft. He was converted from quarterback to wide receiver and played nine games with two starts as a rookie for the Dolphins, totaling nine receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.

However, Perry did not make the 53-man roster for the 2021 season, getting released as part of the final round of cuts. The Patriots claimed Perry off waivers but he suffered a foot injury during practice and never played in a game for the team.

Perry closed out the 2021 season as a member of the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad then re-signed with New England on a reserve/future contract this past January.

Perry excelled as both a slotback and quarterback in Navy’s patented triple-option offense and amassed 4,359 rushing yards, second all-time behind Keenan Reynolds. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound speedster finished with 40 rushing touchdowns, which ranks fourth in program history.

As a senior, Perry set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,017 and scored 21 touchdowns. He ran for 100 yards or more in 11 of 13 games, setting another single-season school record.

Reynolds, who still holds the Football Bowl Subdivision record with 88 career rushing touchdowns, was another Navy quarterback switched to wide receiver at the pro level after being chosen in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Ravens. He spent three seasons in the NFL, earning a spot on the practice squads for Washington in 2017 and the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.

Perry’s retirement leaves just two former Navy football players in the NFL. Joe Cardona, a 2015 academy graduate, is entering his eighth season as the starting long snapper for the New England Patriots.


Inside linebacker Diego Fagot, who graduated this past May, was recently approved for the “Military Service Academy Graduates Seeking to Participate in Professional Sports” option and will attempt to make the Ravens’ roster as an undrafted free agent.

Cameron Kinley, a 2021 graduate, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent and was forced to file an appeal after initially being denied permission to delay his active duty service. An arbitration board subsequently overturned the decision by acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker.

Harker then forwarded Kinley’s request to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, who approved the cornerback to attend training camp with the Buccaneers. Kinley was released following the first preseason game and shortly thereafter reported to the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Dam Neck, Virginia.