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By Bruce Sussman
Thu | Aug 29, 2019 | 9:00 AM PDT

Is it possible that an NFL wide receiver is also a cryptologic warfare officer for the U.S. military?

We just ran across a really interesting ESPN story about Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Keenan Reynolds, who is also U.S. Navy reservist and Naval Academy graduate.

It seems no one on the team really knows what he does during his time in the reserve, including quarterback Russell Wilson, who was asked about this.

Then ESPN asked the receiver himself and got a very guarded answer from Reynolds:

"So a lot of it I can't really describe, per se," Reynolds said. "But uh, it's, it's simply, uh, really just, I don't even—I'm trying to think of the best way to describe it. But it just, let's just say it deals with, uh, the cyber realm. We can just... the cyber realm and signals intelligence. That's pretty much it."

ESPN believes Lieutenant Junior Grade Reynolds is a cryptologic warfare officer in the United States Navy. And while the U.S. Navy did not respond to ESPN's request for confirmation, we know what the Navy's website says about this role:

Cryptologic warfare officers "are directly involved in every aspect of Naval operations—delivering information to decision-makers by attacking, defending and exploiting networks to capitalize on vulnerabilities in the information domain."

So it is possible, at least, that this Seahawks wide receiver will follow in the footsteps of Elizebeth Smith Friedman. 

She was a true pioneer in the field of cryptography and used her natural talent for decryption to become one of the preeminent codebreakers in U.S. history. From 1916 through World War II, she solved complex ciphers for the highest levels of law enforcement and military intelligence.

She is also the person behind the theme at SecureWorld cybersecurity conferences this year, Knowledge Is Power: The Remarkable Life of Codebreaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman.