Andrews: Everyone Gets a Fair Shot with Patriots
By Kevin Duffy
FOXBORO -- Since the day he arrived, David Andrews has fully embraced the New England Patriots’ “Do Your Job” mentality.
And this past weekend Andrews had one assignment: Don’t screw up the name on the card.
“Until I read the name I was a little nervous,” Andrews said. “Just didn’t want to mess anyone’s name up -- it’s such a special moment for those guys.”
“Luckily I guess coach drafted a name that was pretty easy for me,” Andrews said. “It was a good weekend. It was cool, to kind of experience the draft in that situation. It’s crazy, you don’t really realize how interested people are in it. It’s not even a football game. It’s crazy. But it’s such a cool environment.”
It was a new experience for Andrews, who hardly watched the draft the year he was coming out of the University of Georgia. A three-year starter for the Dawgs, Andrews remembers having little expectation entering draft weekend in 2015.
“I knew it was probably going to be a long shot,” Andrews said. “Just fortunate that coach Belichick gave me a shot.”
Now in his fifth season, Andrews is entrenched as the starting center for the Pats. He’s part of a long line of undrafted free agents who have made their mark in Foxboro, from Malcolm Butler to Jonathan Jones to J.C. Jackson. When he arrived in Foxboro in the 2015 offseason, he quickly learned two things: The fact that the Patriots won the Super Bowl the previous year meant nothing. And all the jobs were wide open.
“Everyone is going to get a fair shot,” Andrews said. “I think that’s the truth. It’s about who can perform and who can help the football team. That’s what coach Belichick’s job is. It’s a tough place and it’s a tough position to be in -- undrafted -- but you just come in, work, take advantage of your opportunities and you’re not going to make a football team within a day so just kind of put your head down, go to work and take a deep breath when it’s all said and done.”
As an undrafted rookie, Andrews not only made the squad, but he opened the 2015 season as the team’s starting center. He eventually relinquished that role to second-year pro Bryan Stork, who missed the first half of the season with a concussion. But Andrews seized the starting center role the following offseason, and the Pats ended up cutting Stork midway through the summer.
Since then, Andrews has been a fixture in the middle of a dominant offensive line.
The Patriots enter the 2019 season with the Andrews-Joe Thuney-Shaq Mason trio intact for the fourth consecutive season, a rare run of continuity on the interior offensive line.
“We’ve got a good group of guys, played a lot of football together,” Andrews said. “But we’ve got to build that all again, so it doesn’t really carry over. We go back to Day 1. We’ve got to relearn the playbook, teach ourselves, make sure we’re as sharp as we can be.”