Washington Redskins fullback and Naval Reserve officer Eric Kettani told NFL Network that he gotten "hate mail" for delaying his military career to pursue a job in the NFL.
Kettani is competing for a spot on the team's active roster. An agreement lets Kettani serve in public affairs for seven years in the reserves while he competes for an NFL roster spot.
The hate mail "said 'go back to the military and what you signed up for,'" Kettani told NFL Network. "They have every right to say that."
Kettani spent three years of active duty after graduating from the Naval Academy in 2009, and is now on New England's reserve/military list. He spent last season on Washington's practice squad after being released by the New England Patriots.
In the Navy, Kettani's service included 6 1/2 months patrolling South America on the USS Klakring.
"We were out there surveilling and trying to find go-fasters ... drug boats that were trying to carry drugs from South America, Central America to the United States," he told the NFL Network.
Last month, he asked Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner to take part in the ceremony in which he was commissioned as a lieutenant.
"It's quite unusual to do what he's done," Shanahan had previously told reporters. "To have that type of drive [to do] what he does for the service [and] what he does on the football field keeps him pretty busy. He's got a chance to compete for a position."