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Sports Notebook: Clement, Sendejo shine in pros

By Jonathan Myers     12/2/10 6:00pm

When asked the identity of the last Owl to play at Omaha's Rosenblatt Stadium, most Rice devotees will reply with names such as Rick Hague (Lovett '11), Ryan Berry (Hanszen '10) or Diego Seastrunk (Will Rice '10), trying in vain to remember which baseball player was the last to run off the diamond after Louisiana State University's comeback win eliminated Rice in the 2008 College World Series. However, these answers would all be incorrect, as former Owl quarterback, Chase Clement (Brown '09), led his Las Vegas Locos to the United Football League Championship over the Florida Tuskers on Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium. While Rosenblatt will soon be demolished, it's clear that Clement's memories of his MVP-winning performance will live on. While Clement began the season as the Locos' third-string quarterback, an injury to starter Tim Rattay helped him elevate himself over unproductive backup Drew Willy as the Locos moved into the playoffs. In the battle with the Tuskers, Clement threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns.

Former New York Giants and current Locos coach Jim Fassel praised Clement's effort.

"I didn't know who Chase Clement was in July," said Fassel in an interview with the UFL Press. "It's interesting how things turn out. When I saw him on tape for the first time ... we looked him up, watched the tape and said, 'I like this guy.' I knew he could do it. He made really good decisions. He managed the game, and then he made some plays."

Clement was appreciative of the opportunity the Locos and UFL have given him after his short foray in the Canadian Football League proved futile.

"It feels good. It's crazy the way it worked out," Clement said to the UFL Press. "You start the season off as No. 3 ... not the way I thought it was going to end, but it was awesome."

Having a Super Bowl-tested coach in Fassel let Clement feel much more comfortable going into the championship game.

"Growing up watching NFL football for years, a guy like that has been to Super Bowls and done a lot in his career," Clement said. "I get to learn from one of the best. I hope he knows who I am now."

With the season now over, making an NFL roster will go back to being Clement's primary focus. His former teammate, Andrew Sendejo (Wiess '10), already knows what that feeling is like, as Sendejo was added to the Dallas Cowboys' active roster on Monday after going through workouts and being signed to the Cowboys' practice squad the week before. Sendejo, who played under former NFL coach Dennis Green with the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions, tallied 48 tackles this past UFL season, good for second-best in the league, along with two interceptions.

Sendejo talked about what it meant to play for America's Team.

"I grew up a Cowboys fan, so it's kind of surreal to be here," Sendejo said in an interview with the San Antonio Express-News. "I'm going to try to make the most of the opportunity and take advantage of it."

With the UFL season just ending, Sendejo is still in great football shape and with the Cowboys' experiencing woes at the safety position, he could find himself squaring off against vaunted quarterback Peyton Manning in their game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

"I'm going to try to enjoy it and do what I can to help the team," Sendejo said in the same interview.

- Jonathan Myers

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