East County Sports

El Cajon is home to one of a kind NFL athlete

Joe Cardona celebrates with New England Patriots' teammate Stephen Gostkowski.

By Chris Davis
© East County Sports.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (11-12-15) — Most people think that once you get to the NFL, you don’t need to have a second job.  Well JOE CARDONA (New England Patriots/US Naval Academy/GRANITE HILLS) may think another way.


See when Cardona left the East County, he went to Annapolis, Maryland to attend the US Naval Academy.  He stared so well for the Midshipmen that the New England Patriots selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  Joe is the long snapper for the 8-0 Patriots as they prepare to take on the New York Giants on Sunday.


The El Cajon native attends meetings like every other member of the Patriots in the mornings.  Practice for a couple of hours in the early afternoon.  Then around 2:45 p.m. when Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski, Rob Gronkowski, Bill Belichick and the rest of the team goes home, the long snapper goes to his second job.  Cardona is the only active player to also be on active duty in the US Navy.


As part of his agreement with the Navy, Joe travels 61 Miles South of Gillette Stadium to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island to fulfill his duties as an active duty officer.


“He’s serving in the Navy, so he does what he’s assigned to do, and within that we’ve been able to work with that schedule to keep him participating on our team,” head coach Bill Belichick said to ESPN.com.


Coach Belichick has some deep roots himself to the Naval Academy as his late father Steve Belichick coached and was an associate professor at the USNA.  As a matter of fact, the library at the Academy is named the Belichick library.


Cardona recently spoke to ESPN for an article that they did on the Second Lieutenant.  As for the significance of Veterans Day, Cardona said, “To me, every day is Veterans Day. Every day is Memorial Day. Every day is the Fourth of July. There is not a difference between those days and any other days of the year, but obviously, it’s a special day to remember those who have served our country and fought for it. That means a lot to me.”

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