The Arizona Cardinals wrapped up their rookie mini-camp over the weekend which included draft picks, undrafted players who earned a contract and also try outs from rookies.
The final group included former Air Force Falcons football linebacker Ryan Watson who took part of the three-day camp even though head coach Bruce Arians knew that this cadet, even if good enough, would not be able to be a Cardinal for two years.
"I think it's dumb," Arians told reporters after Friday's rookie minicamp practice.
The day of the NFL Draft the Department of Defense made an announcement that the policy that would allow cadets to be able to pursue a pro contract on a case by case basis would not go into effect and the two-year service requirement would not be altered.
However, most players and coaches did not know of the change until Day 3 of the NFL Draft. In fact, most Falcons players and coaches heard of this change via the media and not the school itself.
Watson is not happy with this rule saying that timing “could’ve been better” and he adds that it could have been worse since this news came down before undrafted players could have signed.
"It is what it is," Watson said. "You got to make the best of your situation. "It's a lawful order, so they want me to serve, so I'll serve.
“I came to the Air Force Academy to be a lieutenant,” he said via the Colorado Springs Gazette. “I feel like that decision is above my pay grade, and I will obey the lawful orders from those over me. I may not understand it. I may not agree with it. But it’s the situation.”
Watson knew what he was signing up for when he committed to the Air Force Academy and playing football was a bonus. he just happened to get good enough to get a chance at the NFL.
He earned three days to prove that and now he must wait two years to see if the Cardinals, or any other team will have an interest.
Watson did enough that Arians said that “he’s earned it” and could be considered for the Cardinals after his two year service is up.
"That'll be very tough," he said. "Anything worth it is pretty difficult, pretty hard. It's not the easy road. I went to the United States Air Force Academy, so I'm not used to easy in the first place, so it'll be fine.
"Oh, it's definitely a tease," he said. "But I'd rather be here than not be here, so I'm blessed to have the opportunity. I will never be upset coming in here and leaving."