Three things attracted veteran free agent offensive lineman Pete Kendall to the Jets in 2004.
"They had a good quarterback, a good running game, and their offer was the most competitive," Kendall said. "So it was pretty clear to me at the end of that process that New York was the right decision for me at the time."
Seattle's first-round draft choice out of Boston College in 1996, over five seasons with the Seahawks and three with the Arizona Cardinals, Kendall started in all but one game – 111 of 112. That combination of dependability and outstanding play came along with the veteran leadership he brought to Coach Herm Edwards' squad.
"I'm not really sure how Herm looked at me in the beginning given that we hadn't worked together before, but I think they knew a little bit about me given that I had played with (Jets center) Kevin (Mawae) for my first two years in Seattle," Kendall said.
"I think eventually as the course of a season wore on, I certainly carved out my own role. Being new to the team, I wasn't a captain, but I was, I think, somebody that hopefully my teammates and coaches felt like they could, at the very least, rely on to help wherever it was needed."
After two seasons under Edwards, Kendall and his teammates were introduced to Eric Mangini, who only two and a half years older than the left guard, was making his head coaching debut after serving as New England's defensive coordinator.
"I was very comfortable with Eric as the coach. Whatever the age difference was, it didn't really matter to me," Kendall said. "We actually knew some of the same people. Eric went to Wesleyan, and I had some high school football teammates that went to Wesleyan, as well. So we knew some people in common away from football.
"I had certainly heard some good things about Eric as a guy, and his football résumé was pretty tight when he was hired as the head coach."
That same season, the Jets chose two offensive linemen in the first round of the Draft, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, who had the benefit of learning from Kendall's gridiron experiences.
"I think I did a little bit more with those two guys being rookies and trying to help them along," Kendall said. "But nothing extraordinary and certainly nothing that I wouldn't have expected to do with any two rookies or young players trying to make the transition from the college game to the pro game. I was happy to spend the time with them, and certainly happy for them and the careers that they went on to have. Both had really outstanding careers."
As did Kendall.
During his three seasons with the Jets, he experienced the only playoff victory of his career, a 20-17 win over San Diego in 2004. Helped Curtis Martin win the NFL rushing title that same season. And also helped upset the Patriots in 2006 in front of family and friends in his hometown of Boston.
Kendall wrapped up his playing days with Washington in 2007 and '08. What makes him most proud of his 13-year career?
"I guess the fact that, for the most part, I was reliable. I was durable. And knock on wood, it's not just working out, it's a lot of luck that is involved just avoiding the catastrophic injuries. And so some of that 13 years can chalk up to nothing but dumb luck and being able to stay healthy," Kendall said.
"But I think being available, being reliable, being somebody that my teammates could count on to help however it was. Whether it was changing protections or helping get us into the right place or just sort of being there in the lineup nearly every week."
Making his home in the Boston area, Kendall and his wife, Michelle, have three children. Peter, who recently graduated from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and is embarking on a career in commercial real estate. Madison, who is a senior at Wharton. And Drew, who is a freshman at Boston College, where he's an offensive lineman on the football team.
"When I retired (from the NFL in 2009), I felt like I needed to take a step back from football for my family," Kendall said. "And so as much as I loved the game and had considered trying to slide into a coaching position, I played for four teams over the course of my 13 seasons, and had moved my kids around a great deal. Ultimately, my wife and I decided that we wanted to give them some stability and some roots in the area where we grew up. And so that's what we did.
"I'd come to know some people in the financial services industry, and for somebody, I guess I was 36ish, 37ish, looking for work, the equity research sales opportunity was the one that was most readily available. And so I slid into a role with a firm.
"I recently left a job that I had been in for nearly 10 years, and am sort of trying to figure out the next chapter of my life. I would probably like to stay in the financial services industry. I don't know if I specifically want to stay in equity research sales, but I'm trying to take my time and figure it out and find the right opportunity."