Even among his New England teammates, long snapper Joe Cardona stands out as a Patriot.
An officer in the U.S. Navy and a two-time Super Bowl champion, Cardona received honors in the military and football worlds Thursday — which also happened to be the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
During a ceremony at Gillette Stadium Thursday morning, Cardona was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Thursday night, he took part in the team’s presentation of their Super Bowl LIII championship rings during a private event at owner Robert Kraft’s home.
“Congratulations to Lieutenant Joe Cardona on his promotion,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after practice. “Obviously a day to remember our World War II veterans on D-Day. The 75th anniversary, that’s kind of a big one for us. I want to recognize all the things that they did.”
Belichick has strong ties to the U.S. Naval Academy. His father, Steve Belichick, was an assistant coach in Annapolis for 33 years.
Cardona graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy before being drafted by the Patriots in 2015. Cardona has been placed on reserve status while he pursues his NFL career. He currently balances his commitments with the Patriots and his military duties at the Naval Preparatory Academy in Rhode Island.
Cardona’s contributions to his country and his team have not gone unnoticed.
“It’s pretty emotional when you see someone take the oath like that and raise his hand,” Tom Brady said. “It’s a big commitment Joe’s made, and I think Joe has done it very proudly and does a great job educating a lot of us on what it means to him. I think we all appreciate that.
“We see the work he does here for us, but also the work he does for our country. I’ve talked to Joe a lot over the years about what his roles and responsibility are and I think everyone is proud of his accomplishments.”
Cardona has never missed a game in his four-year career and heads into the 2019 season after signing a contract extension this past offseason. Right now, he’s a lock to make the team, serving as the only long snapper on the 90-man roster.
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