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Navy’s Joe Cardona: Being a New England Patriot ‘has made me a much better officer’

Then-Ensign Joe Cardona (left), and longsnapper for the New England Patriots with Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Heyward, at the Patriot's Trophy Room at Gillette Stadium, Feb. 14, 2017. (Jonathan Wright/U.S. Marine Corps)

As Red Sox prospect and Naval Academy graduate Noah Song seeks a waiver to defer his military commitment, it’s unlikely he’ll find a better advocate than Joe Cardona.

The Patriots longsnapper hasn’t just balanced his service requirement with a professional sports career.

He’s excelled in both fields.

Cardona is only the second Navy graduate to win multiple Super Bowls, accompanied by the legendary Roger Staubach, and last spring he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in a ceremony held in front of his teammates.

He believes he’s thriving as an officer because of his growth as a (New England) Patriot.

“I think the biggest value added to me has been being around such a high-performing organization on a day-to-day basis,” Cardona told MassLive. “The development I’ve had personally and professionally due to my time and experience here with the Patriots has made me a much better officer. A much better service member. And more prepared for what I have to do down the road.”

So how specifically has his football career aided his military one?

“This is just performance at the highest level,” Cardona replied. “Everything we’re doing is geared towards performing under pressure: The biggest moments and the biggest games. Really, sport as it was created was meant to train young men for combat.

“To get to do it at the highest level is obviously a great privilege and an honor. I know it’s not something that’s guaranteed based on the commitment we took. But realistically to truly make the most out of it, I think about it on a personal level of development and how it’s shaping my own leadership style.”

Though he’s followed Song’s story, Cardona hasn’t reached out yet (he’s kind of a busy guy). But the longsnapper plans on getting in touch when one of his careers quiets down over the winter.

“I’ll try to reach out to him personally after the season,” Cardona said. “Just to be able to at least hear what he’s going through and what his gameplan is. How he’s taking it. Until then, I’ve gotta focus on the Titans.”


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