Former Cowboys’ SS Andrew Sendejo, learned patience is indeed a virtue and will go on the long list of players the Cowboys should have kept.
Andrew Sendejo was one of my “The Guys No One Is Talking About” back in 2010. He went undrafted out of Rice and began his career playing for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the UFL. Following an outstanding 2010 campaign, (2nd in the league for tackles) he was signed by the Dallas Cowboys on November 24th.
On November 29, 2010, Andrew Sendejo was promoted to the active roster.He played in two games, making his NFL debut against the Philadelphia Eagles (12/12). He notched a special teams tackle against the Washington Redskins (12/19). He was waived on September 3, 2011 without ever getting a fair chance to compete with Barry Church. .
After a short stint with the Jets, on November 29, 2011, he was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Vikings and started the last three games at safety. In 2012, he ranked fourth on team in special teams tackles with 11.
In 2013, he started 10 games at SS in place of an injured Harrison Smith. He finished third on team with 104 tackles and on December 8, he picked off Joe Flacco, getting the first interception of his career. He was third on the team with 13 special teams tackles.
In 2014, he led the team with 13 special teams tackles and started the last 3 games of the season in place of an injured Robert Blanton.
Andrew Sendejo was named the starter for the 2015 season. He started 13 games (missed time due to a knee injury) at Strong Safety. In the Vikings opening game he blocked a Field Goal which was picked up by Marcus Sherels. He picked off Eli Manning for his 2nd career interception at home against the New York Giants and returned it 9 yards.
Per an article on the Vikings official website, on March 5th, 2016 Andrew Sendejo signed a four year contract worth $16 million. The 2016 season will be Sendejo’s sixth in the NFL and fifth with the Vikings. The safety has made 26 career starts – all with Minnesota – and played in 63 career games. In 2015, Sendejo started all 13 games he played in and recorded 100 tackles, 0.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one interception and six passes defensed. Sendejo has recorded at least 100 tackles for the Vikings in two of the last three seasons and has 43 career special teams tackles.
Sendejo said playing special teams helped him develop as a player and prepare for starting opposite safety Harrison Smith in 2015.
“Even last year, being a starter, I still had to study all the special teams stuff in case they needed me in some different phases on special teams,” Sendejo said. “During the week it’s a grind to get everything mentally prepped and ready to go, and that way when you go out on Sunday, you don’t really have to think much. You just go play.”
Andrew Sendejo prides himself on preparation. He identifies as a student of the game and recognizes there’s a lot more to football than the physical aspects.
“I try to do everything right on and off the field,” Sendejo said. “Whether it’s being in meetings and paying attention, taking notes, or in practice – making checks and calls – hustling during practice. Then obviously during the game, playing my tail off. I think it’s one of those things where I bring a little bit more to the game than necessarily some flashy numbers.”
Looking back on the 2015 season and the success Minnesota had, he gave a lot of credit to the front seven and their performance. He said the Vikings defense thrives on working well together, and the unit especially stood out down the stretch. Over the last two weeks of the regular season and in the Wild Card match-up, Sendejo recorded 20 tackles (15 solo) and an interception. He had 14 tackles vs Green Bay in the playoff game.
“Our whole team started getting a hot hand there at the end, and we were playing good ball,” Sendejo said. “That’s really what you look for in a team, right there at the end. It’s been a long season, guys are banged up, you can be a little mentally drained as well, and you just have to kind of stay on the grind and get rolling.”
Sendejo said that fortitude will be key to his part in the Vikings defense moving forward, and he’s eager to get started.
“I’m just looking forward to continuing to improve and get better and just help out,” Sendejo said. “[Whatever] my role is with this team – what they have me schemed up to do at safety – and just continue to be a consistent player like I have been since I’ve been here.”
For Andrew Sendejo, re-signing with the Vikings only increases his motivation to work hard each and every day.
“You have to show up every day, you have to play well, you have to play at a high level. If I continue to do that, I’ll continue to be on the field,” Sendejo said. “And if I don’t do that, I won’t be on the field. That’s how it goes in the NFL, and that’s how it’s been in the last six years since I’ve been in the NFL. I’m just going to continue to do what I’ve done – it’s been working for me. And then just look forward to getting back at it, having a good [2016 season] and winning the Super Bowl.”
It’s always a good feeling as an analyst to see one of the guys you stood on the table for develop in to the player you new he could be. Andrew Sendejo will be added to the long list of happy endings from “The Guys No One Is Talking About Series.” Unfortunately the Cowboys front office failed to recognize the talent they had in front of their eyes and continue to struggle with poor safety play.
Congratulations Andrew, we are happy for your success. Your hard work and patience awaiting your opportunity to prove you could be a solid starter in the NFL has finally paid off.