PROVO — During his years at BYU, senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton established a reputation for being an aggressive playmaker with unquestionable toughness.
On Monday, coach Bronco Mendenhall made the unexpected announcement that Pendleton's season — and collegiate career — has come to a premature end.
At some point during BYU's loss to TCU on Oct. 28, Pendleton suffered a knee injury, but he kept on playing. The injury was detected during the Cougars' recently completed bye week.
"I don't think he did come out (of the TCU game)," Mendenhall said. "That is the amazing thing, we don't know which play it happened on and he doesn't remember a specific hit. The next day it became very sore, not where his previous injury was but was off to the side. After doing some research it is fairly common for this current injury to happen in relation to the other injury and the surgery he had (during the offseason)."
Pendleton was scheduled to see a specialist Monday, according to Mendenhall.
"It has been a tough weekend for him and myself as we are dealing with him having played his last football game at BYU," Mendenhall said. "After working so diligently to fight and come back and help us this season, we will keep him integrated as much as possible in terms of practice and maybe even help coach his position to keep him with us."
Pendleton experienced an injury-plagued career at BYU. Last season, he suffered a knee injury in a loss to Utah State in early October that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Pendleton worked hard during the offseason to be able to return to the team this fall before missing two-and-half games due to an ankle injury.
"He has been instrumental in helping us play very good defense this year," Mendenhall said. "His day-to-day example, when you hear him walking down the hallway you hear things clicking and popping … he has fluids drained from his knee at least once a week and he keeps showing up to play so he has earned my respect and his teammates' respect. He's helped us win a lot of games and I would say it was a success, not ideal with injuries, but he has learned a lot along the way."
In seven games this season, Pendleton recorded 32 tackles, a team-high 8.5 tackles-for-loss, a team-high four sacks, one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.
"We love Jordan. He's our teammate. We feel bad for him and wish he were out there. He's one of our main producers on the field and we'll miss that," said senior linebacker Jadon Wagner. "It's just sad. I feel bad for him and he is a good friend. I feel bad for him personally and for the team. He is one of our leaders on defense."
"He's a talented guy on the field, he's a good guy in the locker room. He's a guy that you trust and respect," said center Terence Brown. "We wish him the best of luck. Hopefully everything works out and he can get his knee taken care of. He loves playing football. He's emotional, he's passionate about it. That will definitely be missed. But we have guys that will step in and fill that role the best that they can. But our hearts and prayers are with Jordan and we hope everything works out for him."
Mendenhall said he hopes Pendleton's chances at a career in the National Football League won't be negatively affected by this latest injury.
"There might be questions from NFL scouts because of the timing and the rehab it will take, he might miss some of the training sessions, but he has done enough on film. He is an NFL player."
Senior Jameson Frazier is expected to start in Pendleton's spot at outside linebacker.
"Not having (Pendleton) on the field will be a tough loss," said senior cornerback Corby Eason, "but we have guys that are ready to play."
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Idaho (2-7) at BYU (6-3)
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