Determined to excel

After meeting with the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago for a physical, Portland State linebacker Jordan Senn was given a video of the undrafted free-agent players who are currently on the team’s roster.

After meeting with the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago for a physical, Portland State linebacker Jordan Senn was given a video of the undrafted free-agent players who are currently on the team’s roster.

Senn, who signed a free-agent contract with the Colts following the NFL Draft this past weekend, left Thursday afternoon to participate in rookie camp with the hopes of adding his own highlight reel to the video for future prospects to watch.

“They have a lot of guys who are late round or undrafted and are still on the team,” Senn said Thursday morning before departing for Indiana. “They sent me a video of the guys who are contributing, so that’s huge to see that it can be done.”

After amassing 320 career tackles, second all-time in Portland State history, Senn intends to rack up more stops when he steps onto the field donning an NFL practice jersey for the first time over the weekend.

Senn will join 13 other Colts free-agent hopefuls in their pursuit of making an NFL roster, though the former Vikings star is the only linebacker among the group of undrafted players.

“It doesn’t really seem real yet-is it really happening? Once I go there and put that helmet on and step on their field, then it will become real,” Senn said.

The rookie camp is an opportunity for the young, inexperienced players to acclimate to the coaching staff and the terminology before reconvening in two weeks to hit the field with the veterans for mini camp.

From starting at Beaverton High School to becoming an all-conference player in the Big Sky, Senn has awaited this moment, claiming, “This is just another step to a dream I’ve had my whole life.”

Senn spoke with six other NFL teams but opted to sign with the Colts based on the coaching staff and their team-first mentality. He also cited the defensive philosophy Indianapolis employs as an important factor in his decision.

Compared to the vast majority of NFL clubs, Indianapolis utilizes smaller, more athletic linebackers in its defensive schemes. Senn fits the build, as he is listed at 5-11, 224 pounds, measurements that are eerily similar to Colts starting linebacker and defensive captain Gary Brackett (5-11, 235 pounds). Brackett, too, was an undrafted free agent, coming out of Rutgers in 2003.

Portland State head coach Jerry Glanville believes that Senn and the Colts are a perfect match.

The Colts value intelligent players with a high football IQ, one reason bright quarterback Peyton Manning has been a bona fide success in the blue and white. Glanville believes that without a doubt Senn has the right attributes to fulfill Indianapolis’ affinity for sharp football players.

“It’s funny that he got to go there, because he’s so smart,” Glanville said of Senn, an Academic All-American the last two seasons.

One of the obstacles facing a player transitioning from college to the NFL is the increased amount of time spent studying the game. Glanville compares the amount of time spent dissecting game film and hours analyzing the nuances of the playbook to the classes Senn has taken as a student.

The time commitment will be about the same, with the primary difference being that Senn will be solely a football major with the Colts, not a physical activity and exercise major like he is at Portland State. Glanville knows acclimating may be difficult.

“That wears on a lot of rookies. Rookies get very mentally wore out compared to a 13-year vet,” Glanville said.

Glanville views the additional time studying football not as a disadvantage for Senn but rather as an advantage, adding, “The big difference is Jordan doesn’t even like football, he loves it.”

Based on league history, the odds of an undrafted player making an NFL team are pretty slim. But Senn is taking the opportunity on like he did so many opposing ball carriers in his four years as a Viking-head first.

“If you work hard, I think the hardest thing is to stay positive and not let the fact that these other guys were drafted and you weren’t. Try not to let it get to you and your performance mentally,” Senn said. “Free agents–the guys that make it–they never quit. They can’t cut me; I won’t let it happen. That’s the mentality I got to go with.”