FENNO: As Redskins fullback and now Navy lieutenant, Eric Kettani worthy of salute

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

“The Constitution of the United States.”

“The Constitution of the United States.”

Kettani’s reserve duties take him from the Pentagon to Andrews Air Force Base to Naval Support Facility Anacostia on weekends. Earlier this year, he spoke at military bases in California and Alaska. The NFL, really, is another opportunity for him to represent his service. All this can be exhausting, but Kettani doesn’t mind. He signed up for this.

The 73-word oath ended. Cameras clicked. Teammates hooted and hollered.

After a bit of trouble, Shanahan pinned the dual silver bars of a lieutenant on Kettani’s left collar. Turner handled the other side.

“I’m not very experienced at that,” Shanahan said.

Laughter cascaded through the room.

“Appreciate it,” Kettani said. “Thanks, guys.”

After 3 minutes and 45 seconds, the ceremony ended. A wide grin covered Kettani’s face as his family visiting from Ohio clustered around for pictures.

Later, Shanahan quipped that he’ll start saluting Kettani after the promotion. The coach couldn’t spit out enough adjectives to describe him. Not as a football player gifted with the ability to run the ball as well as he can block.

“Well, he’s a great representative for our country because he’s everything you look for in a person,” Shanahan said. “To have a guy like that, you feel very secure.”

Little about Kettani, other than his 5-foot-11, 240-pound frame, fits the mold of an ordinary football player. His dual careers somehow leave time to pursue the StateRoots clothing line he created, and painting. Kettani does custom pieces for teammates and even painted a 4-foot-by-4-foot piece for Patriots owner Robert Kraft called “Wide Left.”

None of this surprises his father, Mounir. The father is a self-acknowledged multitasker, always up to something while running his business buying and selling aircraft parts.

“He was always like this,” Mounir Kettani said. “Always a go-getter. Always wants to be No. 1. Always. An A for him wasn’t good enough. He was determined, you know.”

Kettani is a long shot to make the 53-man roster behind veteran fullback Darrel Young. But he has another season of practice-squad eligibility. The deal with the Navy won’t interfere if he makes the active roster. And long odds, really, aren’t much of a deterrent. Not for someone far from the average player on the edge of an NFL roster.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player