Andrews no baby now when it comes to Super Bowl

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – David Andrews has said no a couple of times in his life, and it’s paid off for him in a big way.

First, when he was a 10-year-old growing up in Johns Creek, Ga.,, he said no to his baby sitter. He wanted to stay up and watch the Super Bowl, and this particular one, Super Bowl XXXVI, was really close. This guy named Brady was leading the Patriots to a possible upset over the Greatest Show on Turf, the St. Louis Rams.

And it was time for bed, he was told.

“That’s one of the first few Super Bowls I kind of remember as a kid growing up,” Andrews, who is now snapping the ball to Brady full time as the Patriots starting center for the second straight Super Bowl season. “Just seeing that, ‘Who’s this Tom Brady guy’? It just kind of snowballed from there. I think I had a babysitter that first Super Bowl he was in.”

Where were his parents?

“I think they were at a party that I couldn’t go to,” Andrews said. “That year, the baby sitter was like ‘You’re going to bed.’ And I was, ‘I’m going to watch this game.'”

The other time he said no? That came when he was not drafted out of the University of Georgia three years ago. He could have decided it wasn’t worth it to try to hook on with a team and fight the odds of an undrafted free agent. But that wasn’t in his mind at all, and he signed with the Patriots right after the draft, on May 2, 2015.

“The whole draft system is kind of a process,” Andrews said. “That’s kind of how it goes. There’s a lot of guys undrafted. I remember seeing stats, all the undrafted guys who have played in Super Bowls. That’s just part of it. Guys just fall into the opportunities, and you’ve got to make the most of it, and I was fortunate to do that. We’ve had a lot of guys on this football team that have done the same thing. There’s a lot of good football players out there.”

And Andrews has become one of them. He was opportunistic his rookie season, taking advantage of injuries to the other two centers, Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell. And basically, he’s held it ever since, as neither are no longer with the team. But the 6-3, 295-pound Andrews sure is, playing in his second Super Bowl.

“It’s a huge honor to get to play in a game like this,” Andrews said. “Just to be able to be a part of it is unreal. When you get a little time in the off-season, relax a little bit, is when you can kind of appreciate it.”

But he harkens back to his first few days as a rookie, when he first met the player he most closely works with on the team.

As a rookie you come in early, we were kind of working out on our own. Then it’s time for the veterans to come in, and we were in the hallway or something, and he came walking out, and there he was. “And hey David, I’m Tom Brady. This guy knows an undrafted rookie’s name. That was a huge impression, something I’ll always remember.

“He remembers what it was like being in our shoes. Just a normal guy playing football. Done it for a long guy, and done it really well.”

Andrews has had a good relationship with Brady, going over blitzes, snap counts, etc.

“Tom’s been awesome to work with,” he said. “Kind of crazy seeing how young I was when he started doing this, and kind of crazy to get the opportunity to work with a guy like that now. But he’s a heck of a competitor, he’s fun to work with, He gets the best out of people, and it’s been a great working relationship and grown into a friendship, too, so it’s been good.”

Andrews – his legal name is James David, named after his grandfather and father — has embraced the hard work culture around the franchise, especially the one for an offensive lineman.

“The message is clear, and communicated,” Andrews said. “You know what’s expected, and how it’s expected to get done. … Practice is never easy, they try to make it as hard as they can for us. And that does show up. It shows the commitment they have, and how we push each other.

“You know at the time it sucks,and it’s not fun, but you’re going to reach down someday and need that moment. That’s just part of the conditioning. That’s never really, really fun, but it makes Sundays a lot better.”

Andrews says the Super Bowl is an experience best handled when it’s taken like a regular game.

“It’s just everything now is on a bigger scale,” he said. “You just kind of handle that and move forward.”

Andrews will have to handle Philadelphia defensive lineman Fletcher Cox on Sunday, and he says he’s ready for the job.

“Fletcher’s a great player, big, strong, fast, all those attributes,” he said. “He causes a lot of disruption. And he’s got the stats to back it up. Or he’ll have (a play) where he blows up somebody and somebody else is making the tackle. He’s a heckuva player, been doing it for a long time, it’ll be a big challenge for us.”

While Cox has some speed, Andrews sees strength.

“He’s definitely a power guy. He’s playing with a lot of speed, and he’s inside. Those guys are more power.

“It’s just a challenge to prepare for. Guys are good at doing that each week, our guys do a good job of that, being prepared each week. It’s just something you have to deal with.”

Andrews has been dealing with the physical nature of football since he was in the first grade, he said. Since he took incurred his first hit. And he was hooked.

“I think it was the first time I put pads on, did a drill, an older person hit me,” Andrews said. “And I was like, ‘Wow, this is tough.’ “But then you start to love it. It’s a violent game, you know what you sign up for, but I think it’s the best game on earth. Teaches you so much about life and yourself, team. It’s the greatest game on earth to me.”

One he said yes to, and is glad he did.