Anyone who follows Navy football knows that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick loves to give talented Midshipmen a shot at the NFL. Belichick’s father coached and worked as a scout at Navy for many years, and the younger Belichick has signed a handful of Navy grads and kept them on the team using the NFL’s reserve/military.
As far as I can see, the rules for list aren’t spelled out anywhere online, so it never fails to confuse folks. So here’s a very basic description of how it works from Patriots.com by Patriots Football Weekly writer Andy Hart:
Can U explain the Military Reserve and how and when it’s used?
The list is used for any player who is actively involved with the Armed Forces, and therefore cannot play out his NFL contract. The contract is essentially tolled, as the player is not paid and does not count against a team’s roster limit. The team can then activate the player and, if it chooses, expect him to play out the terms of the contract at whatever time he completes his military commitments. The Patriots currently have three players from the Navy on their Reserve/Military list: WR Tyree Barnes, WR Shun White and RB Eric Kettani.
For another explanation of the military/reserve list, check out this 2009 story on Boston.com.