Reynolds a secret weapon for Dragons
Seattle Dragons head coach Jim Zorn has called wide receiver Keenan Reynolds his secret weapon.
In this case, that’s not cliché. That’s reality.
Reynolds literally knows covert operations. In addition to being a receiver, return man and emergency quarterback, Reynolds is in the United States Naval Reserves with a rank of lieutenant junior grade at the same time he’s trying to carve out a football career.
Reynolds, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, specializes in cryptologic warfare. He’s not allowed to talk in detail about what he does but says it involves gathering information for battlefield space and strategy.
That’s kind of ironic. Reynolds’ job on the football field is to create space between himself and defenders.
We’ll get to more football in a minute. But first, let’s talk some more about Reynolds’ military duty. The standard graduate of the academy is obligated to five years of active duty.
However, the academy works with graduates who are professional athletes. The rules have changed several times, but the deal Reynolds got is for eight years in the reserves. He’s on active duty two weeks per year and one weekend a month.
During the season, Reynolds is exempt from weekend duty, and he makes up the time during the offseason. At times, Reynolds goes in and does drills on days off from football.
“It’s tough at times, but the Navy has been great about working with me,’’ said Reynolds, 26.
But Reynolds said his Navy duty has been easy compared to making the transition to wide receiver after being a highly decorated quarterback at the academy.
He finished his career with an NCAA Division I record 88 touchdowns and an FBS quarterback record of 4,559 rushing yards. Reynolds wasn’t much of a passer, though, and the Baltimore Ravens moved him to receiver after drafting him in the sixth round in 2016. He spent time with the Redskins in 2017 and with the Seahawks in 2018 but was out of football last year.
The XFL came along, though, and Reynolds is making the most of his opportunity this time around. Reynolds is a team captain on special teams, but he’s far more than that.
“He’s our best wide receiver,’’ Seattle director of player personnel Tony Softli said. “You also won’t find a better young man on or off the field.’’
While it may seem like Reynolds has led a charmed life, he said the switch to wide receiver was the most difficult thing he’s ever done.
“I struggled,’’ Reynolds said. “Man, did I struggle. I had no clue what I was doing at first. But being in the XFL is getting me lots of playing time, and I’m feeling comfortable as a receiver now.’’
In last week’s win against the Tampa Bay Vipers, Reynolds caught three passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. He also has a plan for the future.
“I want to get back to the NFL,’’ Reynolds said. “I want to finish my military duty. Then, I want to be either a coach or a front-office guy working in personnel.’’