Former Navy long snapper Joe Cardona signs four-year, $2.47 million contract

Former Navy long snapper Joe Cardona has signed a four-year, $2.47 million contract with the New England Patriots.

Cardona was a fifth-round draft pick.

Although Cardona has a five-year military service commitment, Cardona has been able to take part in offseason workouts because of his assignment to the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport, R.I.

Cardona worked out privately for the Patriots and visited the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the draft. He also had a dinner meeting with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, an Annapolis native, in Maryland.

Cardona's snaps have been clocked at 41 mph, reaching the punter's hands in less than a second. A four-year starter, Cardona was the only long snapper invited to the NFL scouting combine and played in the Senior Bowl All-Star game.

At 6 feet 2, 242 pounds, Cardona bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times and had a 33-inch vertical leap and a 4.91-second 40-yard dash.

Cardona is required to serve five years in the Navy as an officer and will be commissioned in May.

There have been exceptions granted in the past, though, including special clearance given to former Navy fullback Eric Kettani, which allowed him to play in the NFL.

The Navy gave Cardona a special dispensation to play in the Senior Bowl and clearance to participate in the scouting combine.

awilson@baltsun.com

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