BOSTON (CBS) -- Thursday was quite the special day for New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona. On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the 27-year-old was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy at a special event at Gillette Stadium.
"Congratulations to Lieutenant Joe Cardona on his promotion," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the team wrapped up their three-day minicamp. "And 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."
Cardona is a graduate of the Naval Academy and has balanced his duties with the Patriots and commitment to the Navy over his four years in the NFL. He has spent time at the Naval Preparatory Academy in Rhode Island, but hasn't missed a single game with the Patriots, who drafted him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
In August of 2017, Cardona performed a reenlistment ceremony at Gillette Stadium for two of his fellow Naval officers following a Patriots practice.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reflected on Cardona's promotion and the special ceremony to honor the long snapper.
"It's pretty emotional when you see someone take the oath like that and raise his hand," Brady said Thursday. "It's a big commitment that Joe has 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," Brady continued. "As proud as you are of winning a Super Bowl ring, to advance in that part of his career is pretty amazing. To do both is really a great thing for him personally. It was nice to be able to celebrate and congratulate with him."
Cardona is one of two graduates of the Naval Academy to win a Super Bowl, along with Cowboys quarterback Robert Staubach.
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