Eric Kettani has kept himself busy since getting summoned back to the Navy in October, but he is still keeping hope alive that he'll get a chance to return to the Patriots in time for the 2012 season.
The Navy hasn't given Kettani an official timetable for a response on his appeal to return to the NFL, but he said Wednesday he is hoping to get word soon.
"I'm hoping to get a call in the next couple months," Kettani said, "and hopefully it's a good one saying I'm returning to the NFL."
Kettani, a running back on the Patriots' practice squad until he was ordered back to the Navy, returned to his ship, the USS Klakring in Florida, and he is completing his military work while he awaits word on his appeal, which is still being processed.
But he has also taken up painting. Three weeks ago, his roommate, a professional painter, asked Kettani to give it a try. Kettani was initially resistant, but after giving in, he realized he's got a passion for painting. He just started his own company, Kettani Originals, and his work can be found on his own website, EricKettani.com. He was inspired to launch the company by his family, as his father and brother each own their own businesses.
"I made my first painting, and it turned out really well," Kettani said. "My concept is to engrain a professional athlete in the NFL into each of my paintings. The [first] painting I did, I incorporated a cleat I wore with the Patriots. I sawed it in half, and I embedded it in the painting and made it part of it. It turned out really well. The next one I did, I put a couple football gloves and my number 36. The one I'm making now, it's called, 'Wide Left,' for the kick the Ravens missed [in the AFC Championship]. It will have the football, the goalposts, and that should be posted in the next couple days. I have 'MHK' in the top right in silver lettering to represent Mr. [Robert] Kraft's wife. Hopefully, it will get picked up."
Kettani will begin donating a portion of his profits to the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity dedicated to injured service members. Kettani has been actively involved with the project for a while, and he distributed T-shirts to each of his Patriots teammates, which have been worn throughout the locker room all season.
And though his appeal process is still in limbo, Kettani is hoping to reunite with the Patriots next week in Indianapolis. He's been in talks with the team about traveling to the Super Bowl and appearing at events in his Navy uniform, and he'll find out for sure within a few days.
It's an exciting time for the Patriots, and Kettani has stayed in contact with his teammates and kept a close eye on their march to the Super Bowl. While he has always enjoyed his time in the Navy, he'd really love to rejoin his team in New England.
"It's a different world," Kettani said. "Some people recognize me at bars and stuff, and they come up to me asking me certain things. It's awesome, but I would love to be up there with the team, especially with the Super Bowl coming."