It’s no secret that we here at the Pewter Plank were big fans of Kinley, this writer in particular. However, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business and this is the reality. Kinley was signed as an undrafted free agent with quite the resume, as the team captain and class president his senior year at the Naval Academy.
His journey to Tampa Bay was certainly an interesting one. To make a long story short, after signing the Bucs in May, the Navy blocked Kinley’s request to delay his mandatory service to pursue his NFL dream. Marco Rubio would get involved, and eventually, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin granted Kinley his exemption in July.
After impressing in rookie mini-camp, Kinley then had some learning to do during training camp. He learned fast, as, in his first and only preseason appearance, the cornerback was third on the team with six tackles, five of which were solo. He also laid a big hit that was called for a, shall we say “questionable” unnecessary roughness penalty.
Speaking to ESPN after the news of his release, Kinley said:
"“I’m definitely grateful I had an opportunity to be a part of the organization. I was able to learn a lot on and off the field from the players, coaches, and support staff. I wish the Buccaneers the best this season and I look forward to what God has next for me.”"
We certainly hope the best too for this “great young man” as Bruce Arians referred to him. Since Kinley has been in the NFL less than four years, he will be on waivers for any team to claim him, before becoming a free agent to sign where he pleases.
The Buccaneers also waived tight end De’Quan Hampton and big-bodied wide receiver Josh Pearson, and we wish these two nothing but the best as well on their NFL journeys. Who knows? Maybe their paths lead them to the Buccaneers practice squad.
The 2021 Buccaneers are starting to take shape, with more goodbyes to come soon.