New England Patriots running back Eric Kettani isn’t just a football player — he’s also a member of the United States Navy. But now it seems service to his country is trumping service on the gridiron.

Kettani, who spent two years on the reserve list as an active military member and made the Patriots practice squad this preseason, returned Friday to his Navy ship in Jacksonville, Florida.

He’d spent the past two weeks appealing and requesting leave, but in the official letter denying that request, the Navy said, “As our nation is at war, it is important to ensure we maintain our commitment to the nation’s defense. As such, a release from active duty would be inconsistent with that effort.”

If Kettani is disappointed, he isn’t letting it show. On Thursday, he tweeted, “God Bless America!” and later posted a photo of his helmet and Navy uniform cap side-by-side in his Patriots locker, saying, “Just left Patriot Place for maybe the last time, took a pic for everyone…Go #Patriots!”

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