New England Patriots long-snapper Joe Cardona was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy on Thursday during a ceremony at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Cardona, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was promoted from lieutenant junior grade. The event was held on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, whose father, Steve, coached and scouted for the Navy football team from 1956-89, was in attendance to say a few words.
"Congratulations to Lieutenant Joe Cardona on his promotion," Belichick said, per ESPN. "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.
."..(We're) happy to recognize Joe on this day. It just makes it a special day for all of us."
Cardona, 27, was drafted by the Patriots in the fifth round in 2015. He has played in all 64 possible games through four seasons despite his commitments to the Navy, and he signed a four-year contract extension last June.