US Navy Lieutenant. Eric Kettani has revealed how his dream to become an NFL player was met with mixed reactions, after the Washington Redskins fullback received 'hate mail' for taking time away from his military career.
The 26-year-old was signed by the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2009, following his graduation from the Naval Academy.
Kettani served two years in active service before joining the Patriots' practice squad, only to be told by the military that he had to return to service.
"It's tough. You work so hard for something, and it's taken away," Kettani explained in a feature interview with NFL Network.
"But that's what I signed up for, so I can't complain."
After another year's service, an agreement was reached between Kettani and the Navy, allowing the lieutenant to serve in public affairs for the next seven years, to allow him to pursue his ambition of making an NFL roster.
Kettani was released by the Patriots last year, but the naval officer was offered another lifeline, as the Redskins picked him up and put him on the practice squad.
However, the decision to allow Kettani a route back to the NFL was not met with unanimous approval.
"I received some hate mail. It said go back to the military and what you signed up for," Kettani said. "They have every right to say that."
Four years after graduating from the US Naval Academy, Kettani now has his best chance of making an NFL roster, with coach Mike Shanahan saying the fullback has a good chance of making it with the franchise.