• Brian L. Barefield

The Soldiers Creed: 3 Players From The Army Black Knights Sign With NFL Teams

Most veterans and active-duty soldiers of the United States Army can recite the “ Soldiers Creed " in their sleep. During basic training, we said it every morning to get us started and every evening in formation to finish out the day. And yes. I still say it from time to time around the house.

The words not only embody who we are as soldiers, but who we are as human beings. Later on, I will teach you the “Warriors Ethos” but that’s after you drop and give me at least 25 pushups. Sorry, I can’t help it. The NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) in me never stays quiet.

I can imagine that Army Black Knights players Connor Slomka, Cole Christiansen, and Elijah Riley all said the second line of the Soldiers Creed to each other on yesterday.

“I am a warrior and a member of a team”

All three Black Knight teammates were signed to undrafted free agent contracts at the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Officers are eligible to play immediately upon graduation from West Point Academy and delay their military obligations due to the executive order signed by President Trump this past December at the Army-Navy game. Former President Barack Obama had a similar order in place before it was rescinded by the Trump Administration.

Fullback Connor Slomka signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars after rushing for over 1,200 yards and 17 touchdowns in his time at West Point. The Pennsylvania native saved his best for last as he rushed for over 658 yards his senior season. That was a huge jump from his junior season where he finished with 324 yards.

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After having a very good game (5 tackles-1fumble recovery) in the NFLA Collegiate Bowl earlier this year, linebacker Cole Christiansen was signed by the Los Angeles Chargers. Christiansen was a member of the 2019 All-Independent First Team and served as a team captain for two years with the Black Knights. He was a nightmare to his opponents this past season as he finished with 112 tackles (63 solo).

If the aforementioned Christiansen was the General of the Army’s defense, then Elijah Riley was the Colonel. Riley, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, was third on the team in tackles (79 total-55 solo), led the team in interceptions (3) and also had a team high six pass deflections in 2019.

Photo courtesy of

Riley, a 2019 Jim Thorpe Award finalist (Best Defensive Back in College) had an NFL worthy type game in an early season loss to the Michigan Wolverines. The senior cornerback finished the game with 13 total tackles, two sacks, while forcing and recovering a fumble.

“We are extremely proud of Elijah, Cole and Connor,” Director of Athletics at Army West Point, Mike Buddie said in a statement. “They have earned this opportunity through their hard work and determination while representing the Corps of Cadets on the gridiron.”

We here at Big Sarge Sportz wants to salute these young men along with service members, Malcom Perry - Navy (Miami Dolphins) and Zane Lewis - Air Force (Arizona Cardinals) for making it to the next level.


I owe you all something right?

Warrior Ethos

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.


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