Updated: Apr 7, 2021
For our Season 3 Premiere of Slingin’ It With QB Velocity, we got the chance to speak with current Dallas Cowboys Tight End Sean McKeon.
Sean was an undrafted free agent out of Michigan, signing with the Cowboys following the 2020 NFL Draft. He made the Cowboys’ final roster to start the 2020 season, ultimately being the third string Tight End for the team as a rookie.
We got to talk to Sean about his passion for the game, what led him to football, choosing Michigan, and how it all led to him making the NFL.
When did you start playing football and what drew you to it?
Honestly its starts when I’m really young, playing the first year that they would let you. I think I was seven years old; I just remember playing Pee Wee football in Charlton and Dudley, every year as a kid.
It was all I really wanted to do was dreaming about being in the NFL from a young age. It became more of a reality when I got to high school and I hit my growth spurt, got a little bigger.
Yeah, definitely from a young age but probable realized it in High School.
Was there anyone you looked up to?
Yeah, I would say I played running back growing up, I was a lot shorter, I played running back in Pee Wee. And I definitely watched the Patriots all the time, I liked their running backs, I remember a couple of the old guys.
I remember Joseph Addai on the Colts, remember watching him and Barry Sanders and those guys on the Lions. Those were kind of my idols as a little kid.
I think more in high school the tight ends like Gronk and Aaron Hernandez when he was playing. He was a good tight end and being in New England watching those guys.
What’s some advice you would give to your younger self knowing what you know now?
That’s a good question. I would say is just listen to my parents more. They would always be the ones trying wake me up to go work out, go do whatever, it was a struggle. But eventually I ended up listened to them, it just took a while.
What was it like growing up in Mass and getting your name out there?
Yeah, it's definitely tough you know Massachusetts isn’t the biggest football state in the country. But you know I just went to every prospect camp, that I could, made my highlight tape of every high school game I played and scrimmage.
Just sending it out to coaches or guys who ran recruiting and looked at that sort those kinds of stuff. Really you just have to do it all and hope someone notices you.
Talk about the advice you would give to a high school kid going through the recruiting process?
I would say just use your resources use your high school coach. Talk to him, have him make a highlight tape, send it to him and send it out to other college coaches. Just try to get your name out there and hope the right person sees it and be interested.
What made you choose Michigan?
I would say I fell in love with the school, it was Jim Harbaugh's first year there And that was definitely a big factor. He has a reputation of using a lot of tight ends in his offense, so I definitely like that.
You know just once I kind of set foot on campus I just kind of felt like it was my home personally, so I think all that definitely factored in for sure.
What was your mentality once you got to campus? As a competitor you going to be able to play right away so it was kind of your mentality when you got you got to campus?
I mean I knew I was I was undersized I was small; it was a big jump for me from going from high school to college at first so really, I just focus on grinding in the weight room.
You know becoming good friends with the strength coaches in there and you know just doing the extra work. That it takes to just catch up to those guys at the college level because it is a big jump, no there's some big boys out there so I would say.
Also just learning the playbook too I mean in high school we probably had like 10 or 15 plays, so you know. it's a big jump you know just learning that at first and it definitely took me awhile for sure but like once you kind of get comfortable with the playbook it makes it easier.
Is there any kind of tips or anything or kind of hacks that you had for kind of managing your time efficiently?
Yeah, I mean it's definitely tough there are days where you know you leave your dorm at whatever 7:00 AM you don't get back until 8 at night and you're ready to go to bed. You don't just really go and you just Gotta set a schedule and make it a habit and just do that schedule you know just repeat it.
I feel like that's the easiest way for me is just to have that habit set in place and just have something a set schedule that works for you. I mean yeah, I would have like class in the morning and i was trying to gain weight so I went to the dining Hall and eat as much as I could have been.
Doing classes yeah and then just going to football after class and grinding that and then we always had to go to the academic center after football and meet with our tutors do our homework whatever. Then after that go home, so that was kind of my schedule for most of college in the beginning at least.
In college or throughout high school that someone had particular that was kind of a huge part of your journey where there was a mentor or coach?
Yeah, I mean obviously there's so many people like a name probably you know, I think the strength coach. I think it's kind of the people that work behind the scenes that you know do a lot of the work and don't get the recognition and the strength coaches, and nutritionists you know your position coaches.
I think you know all those people definitely had the big impact on me for sure spinning a skinny kid. I always had to gain weight you know I definitely had to get a lot of help from the strength staff, you know trying to trying to gain weight put on good way.
Then the nutritionist at Michigan you know whether it's weight gain smoothies and stuff like that and buying certain groceries at the they told me to get so i think all into it.
Are some things that they could be eating or doing to help put on weight?
Yeah, I mean for me I think smoothies whether it's protein shakes or weight gain shakes just that's the easiest for me. I think it's easiest is to drink carbs is the way, my nutritionist used to say, “it's you know sometimes you just get sick of eating all that food and just putting in a smoothie makes it easier.”
Probably some of my favorites I'm a big just strawberry banana guy throw the protein powder in there some yogurt you know. Another one I liked was throw some peanut butter in there some chocolate protein powder kind of taste like a chocolate peanut butter shake, maybe banana in there too.
Then like also just throw some spinach in there, guests get your veggies you don't really taste the spinach so that's kind of a hack that I did. Just kind of make some veggies in there make it easier because those are important. I feel like sometimes everyone gets so obsessed with carbs and protein that they forget you know veggies are a big part in your diet too.
What was your favorite memory at Michigan?
I would say you know anytime we beat Michigan State was all is probably one of the better games of the whole season. You know it whether it's at home or their place you know winning a rivalry game is huge for us.
Yeah, I would say definitely beating them, I'd say probably scoring my first touchdown ever was pretty awesome at Michigan stadium. I definitely remember that pretty well, but I'd would say yeah probably those two for sure.
How was the tradition at Michigan like?
Yeah, I mean you when you walk through the building you just see how all over the walls like all the past legends that played there all the Heisman's all the national championships they won in the past.
You know that's definitely a factor that motivates you just to try to be your best and try to live up to those people that played before you. So, i think that definitely is a big part of our program and motivates our guys.
So, you know get heading after senior year heading into the pre-draft process. So, what was what was that like for you going through that whole process?
Yeah, it was it was a little rough for me I was kind of hurt my senior year a little bit. I had a lingering hamstring injury that kind of just sucked the whole year to deal with. So, I was I went to Bama Ritos down in Florida it's a combine training place there.
So that's where I was training for the combat and pro day and it was going good kind of tweaked my hamstring like training for the 40. So, I was mostly hurt a little bit for most of my time there and then got it healthy again for pro day after the combine. But our pro day end up getting cancelled, so I never really got to run a real 40 or get a time which was kind of weird.
Did you do any of that virtually? Like send in your times?
But yeah, I try to make a workout video after pro day just cause that's kind of when all the Covid stuff it was really right when I was supposed to have pro day. I was going to run at that but that didn't happen, so I made like a little workout video back actually in Auburn in Massachusetts just like with my dad and my old high school coach and the sent that out to all the teams.
Yeah, I'm not sure how much that really affected anything because you know they weren't there to see it for themselves, but it definitely didn’t hurt.
So ultimately you end up going undrafted so does that really give you a chip on your shoulder you know heading into camp and heading into the season and obviously now too we're back into the offseason?
Yeah, I mean for sure I feel like you know I've kind of always had that chip wherever I've gone. Just being like a other kind of lower side recruit at Michigan and eventually starting there and going undrafted.
So, I feel like it's I always been there before just starting back at the bottom on the roster. I mean the only thing you can do is get to work and you know that's just kind of how I looked at it. I just every day I try to get a little better try to get a little bigger, faster, stronger.
Really just gave it all ahead and camp and just try to show you know the management in the cowboys what I could do with every opportunity I got.
What's your experience with the Cowboys been like?
Yeah, it's honestly you know a dream come true just to be in the NFL and make it this far. You know it's definitely a lot different than in college.
You know you don't have class anymore it's just football all the time so uh I definitely like it a little better obviously no one really likes class. So, uh but it's honestly been awesome just kind of playing against some of the guys that I grew up watching.
On TV when I was a kid and you know it's pretty crazy to actually be sharing the sharing the same field with them now.
Has there been anyone within the cowboys organization that has been really good for you kind of as like a mentor some that really been?
Yeah, I mean I would just say all that all the tight ends in the room you know I feel like they really welcomed me in whether it was Blake Jarwin, and or Dalton Schultz, and Blake Bell, and Cole Hikutini.
I feel like you know all those guys kind of helped me out in camp and show me the ropes I was definitely you know a little surprising very grateful for that. Other people say the NFL is a lot different than college and no one really looks out for each other, but I don't think that's entirely true.
I think a lot of the guys on the Cowboys are you know good dudes and you know teammates so definitely glad to be a part of this team for sure.
What are your expectations heading into year number 2?
Just trying to get some more playing time and you know I played a little bit of special teams and some 3 Tight End sets last year and rotate it in a little bit. But you know definitely trying to grow my role just it's going to feel like it'll be a lot easier just having the experience I have and knowing the offense now.
You know just coming into the year 2 looking to get a little bigger put on some more weight and you know just really work on the techniques that my tight end coach taught me last year. Then just working on those and getting better at home for next year.
What are your team goals? What's your predict for the record?
You know obviously I hope we win every game of course. You know we had a lot of hurt guys last year we moved missing most of our starting online and obviously Dak was hurt so you know getting all of them back will be huge.
I'm just excited to actually play with them kind of for the first time and I think we'll be in good shape. Hope you know I know will win the division and make the playoffs and then we'll see what happens from there