TAMPA — For six days a week, Keith Tandy prepared for a job nobody wanted him to perform. He lifted weights, practiced hard and studied like he was taking the bar exam.
He did this for five years. But at 5-10, 205-pounds, Tandy was easy to overlook. The fact he had a spot on an NFL roster was remarkable achievement, considering he was the 174th player taken in the 2010 draft out of West Virginia where he studied forensic sciences.
The real crime?
Nobody discovered the guy can really impact a football game. Not Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith or Dirk Koetter.
That was until the final five games of the 2016 season, when Tandy finally got his shot and kept draining it.
“It’s like an underdog story about a guy that was smart,” said Bucs safety Chris Conte.
It was a chest injury to Conte, when he had to be hospitalized overnight coughing up blood after a chest injury against the Seahawks, which put Tandy at the intersection of Preparation and Opportunity.
In his first start the next week at San Diego, with the Chargers driving for the tying touchdown, Tandy made a leaping interception in the end zone to seal the Bucs’ 28-21 win.
The next week, he picked off Saints quarterback Drew Brees on fourth down with less than a minute remaining in a 16-11 victory.
“The Tandy man can!” shrieked Bucs radio play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff.
And don’t think Tandy only played the pass. He had 14 tackles, including nine solo, against the Dallas Cowboys. He had 12 tackles (10 solo) in the season-ending win over Carolina, including two interceptions of quarterback Cam Newton. Tandy’s four interceptions tied Brent Grimes for the most on…
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