Malcolm Perry’s career in the National Football League is all set to move forward.
The former Navy standout has received formal approval to pursue professional football and subsequently signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins.
Miami, which selected Perry in the seventh round of the NFL Draft, has not officially announced the signing. However, both Perry and his agent, Jason Bernstein with Clarity Sports International, confirmed it was completed on Monday.
Terms were not disclosed, but the standard rookie contract for a seventh-round draft pick is four years for $3.37 million. Perry, who is listed on the Miami roster as a running back, also received an undisclosed signing bonus.
“I’m excited for Malcolm to begin his NFL career,” Bernstein said Tuesday in a brief telephone interview.
Perry’s signing comes after the Department of Defense approved his request to pursue the new professional sports policy that was announced late last year. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed Directive-Type Memorandum-19-011 that was titled “Military Service Academy Graduates Seeking to Participate in Professional Sports” and dated November 8, 2019.
“I can confirm the Secretary of Defense has approved the delayed tender of appointment to Malcolm Perry for the purposes of pursuing employment as a professional athlete in the National Football League in accordance with the Directive-Type Memorandum,” Commander Alana Garas, public affairs officer at the Naval Academy, told The Capital on Tuesday.
Perry, who received Marine Corps Ground as a service selection, was not commissioned as an officer upon graduating from the Naval Academy. He maintained midshipman status until receiving approval of his waiver request from the Secretary of Defense. Garas said Perry is now a member of the Marine Corps Reserves as a Private First Class (E-2 classification).
“Obviously, I’m very happy it has been approved and looking forward the next step,” Perry said Tuesday from his home in Clarksville, Tennessee. “I’m ready to focus on football.”
Perry still has not received a date for reporting to Dolphins headquarters at Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound speedster said the Miami organization is encouraging its rookies to make housing arrangements in preparation for being called into work.
“Right now, I’m trying to find a place to stay down there,” Perry said.
Most NFL scouts envision Perry as a multi-faceted weapon capable of lining up in the backfield in third down situations, playing slot receiver and serving as a returner on special teams. He is attempting to become the third Naval Academy graduate since 2015 to play in the NFL, following in the footsteps of Joe Cardona and Keenan Reynolds.
Cardona, who was picked in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, has been the starting long snapper for the New England Patriots for the past five seasons.
Reynolds, selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, appeared in one regular season game as a slot receiver for the Seattle Seahawks.
Perry excelled as both a slotback and quarterback in Navy’s patented triple-option offense while amassing 4,359 rushing yards, second all-time behind Reynolds. He finished with 40 rushing touchdowns, which ranks fourth in program history.
As a senior, Perry set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 2,017 and scored 21 touchdowns. He ran for 100 yards or more in 11 of 13 games, setting another single-season school record.
Perry also showed the ability to return kickoffs and punts while piling up 5,320 all-purpose yards, which ranks second in program history behind legendary tailback Napoleon McCallum (7,172, 1981-85), who played in the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders.
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