Home » BYU Football Articles, Featured, Former Cougars, Headline, NFL

Andrew Rich Gets His Shot at the NFL

27 July 2011 Brett Richins 14 Comments

Andrew Rich signed with the Arizona Cardinals (BYU photo)

As a football fan, if you can’t root for a player like former BYU strong safety Andrew Rich, you can’t root for anyone.

The two-time All-Mountain West Conference performer, and the heart and soul of Bronco Mendenhall’s defense the past two seasons, was disappointed this past February when he was not invited to the NFL combine.

Wednesday, the Arizona Cardinals officially announced that they have signed Rich and former BYU offensive lineman Jason Speredon to free agent contracts.

The two new Cardinals join defensive end Vic So’oto, who signed with the Green Bay Packers, as former Cougars who will be fighting for spots on NFL rosters.

For Rich (6-3, 217), who has the reputation for being a big-time hitter and max-effort guy, all he has wanted was the opportunity to show what he can do on the field. Though he lacks the speed that NFL scouts look for, anyone who saw him play during his three years in a BYU football uniform knows that he is a play-making machine and an outstanding leader.

During his senior season Andrew recorded 110 tackles, five interceptions, eight pass break ups, 7.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a sack. In Arizona, he will try to follow in the footsteps of Aaron Francisco, another big-hitting BYU strong safety who played for the Cardinals for four years from 2005 through 2008.

In 2010, the Cardinals carried three strong safeties on the roster — starter Adrian Wilson, back up Matt Ware and third-stringer Hamza Abdullah. In addition to Rich, Arizona will bring two other rookie free agent strong safeties to camp — Jared Campbell (6-0, 200) from Miami, and Wofford’s Tommy Irvin (6-0, 212).

Assuming Arizona doesn’t bring in a veteran free agent, its appears Rich will need to beat out Abdullah and the other two rookies in order to make the Cardinal roster.

Abdullah is entering his seventh season in the league, but has played in just eight games over the past three years. He was picked up late in the 2009 season by Arizona after being cut by Cleveland earlier that year. Campbell, meanwhile is the brother of current Cardinal defensive end Calais Campbell, but started just six games during his career as a Hurricane.

The biggest challenge to Rich could come from Irvin, who, although he comes from an FCS program, has the ability to play either safety position. He started 33 games for the Terriers and tallied 209 career tackles and seven interceptions.

The Cardinals will open camp on Thursday, giving Rich the shot he thought he may not get. Based on what we have seen from him over the past three seasons, a shot may be all he needs.

Click Here to to notified via email when new stories are posted on Deep Shades of Blue.

Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!


  • Kyle M said:

    So glad to hear it! Rich is proof that you don’t need to be the fastest guy on the field if you’re always where you need to be. I suspect he’ll surprise some people in Arizona, and he’ll certainly work harder than anyone.

  • Tsmells said:

    Hamza Abdullah is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA). Even though he was on the Cardinal’s roster last year, it is still unsure if they will bring him back this year. If the Cardinals don’t bring Abdullah back, Rich seems to have a decent shot at the regular season roster given the talent in camp.

  • Jason S said:

    Very excited to see that Rich signed with Arizona. Hope he makes the team. Always nice to have BYU players on the Cardinals!

  • Drakos said:

    Somebody at Arizona recognizes the intangibles. If they truly give him a shot, the Cardinals will not be disappointed.

  • OciaMinocia said:

    It’s a tough year to be an undrafted rookie and try to make the team. Playing defense should make it a little eassier for him, but he’s definitely got his work cut out. Hopefully he’s willing to do everything from wedge-busting to water-hopping. That’s the way he gets a special team toe-hold with a chance to grow in the system.

  • daviod o mckay said:

    Rich is going to blow there sockks off sky high

  • LanceWArchibald said:

    Neither of those other undrafted guys even have a chance of beating out Rich. If the Cardinals don’t bring back Abdullah or bring in another veteran, then the job is Rich’s. Rich was the best player on BYU’s entire defense last year, and we all know that the Wofford war-terriers can’t hold a candle to BYU.

  • Kenny Scott said:

    Love this quote from Bronco on Rich:

    “… any big play that has to be made, there he is. And this coming from someone – to show you how smart I am, I rejected him twice. Once out of [Bonneville] high school and once out of junior college, because I didn’t think he was fast enough or big enough. What I couldn’t see, and didn’t know about him, was how he was inside. If I had known that, it would have been an easy choice to start with.”

  • AttuAK said:

    Life is about beating the odds. Go for it dude!

  • Rob L said:

    He is a tough, physcial and smart. He is also a class act. After a spring practice a couple of years ago, he came over and spoke to my boys for a few minutes. He left a long lasting impression on my boys of how an athlete should conduct themselves on and off the field. They still talk about it. It was priceless. If given a chance to compete I think AZ will see what he can bring to the team.

  • 1984Cougs said:

    Perfect fit for Rich as the Cards already used a “stereotypically slow” safety from BYU to go to the Super Bowl in Aaron Fransisco! Great opportunity for Rich! Totally pumped for him.

  • Vesparider said:

    MDB are the initials that Rich wrote on his arm on game days. Making Doubters Believe. Hopefully his mantra comes to fruition with the Cardinals.

  • Mike said:

    Make Doubters Believers MANdrew!

  • Adam said:

    Interesting to see the cardinals give so many BYU guys a chance in the league. Makes sense with Ken Wisenhunt coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bronco has had BYU run the Steelers defense since he switched from the 3-3-5 and he has become closely acquainted with many Steeler coaches

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

+ 3 = nine