James Sanders was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round (133rd overall) of the 2005 NFL Draft ... Signed by the Patriots (7/20/05) ... Re-signed by the Patriots (3/5/09).
View James Sanders Career Statistics >>
Career GP/GS (Playoffs): 84/49 (10/7)
- Sanders has played in 84 games with 49 starts over his first six NFL seasons (2005-10), totaling 300 tackles (217 solo), one sack, eight interceptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns, 19 passes defensed and 30 special teams tackles.
- Named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after returning an interception 32 yards for a touchdown at Pittsburgh (11/14). It was the second time in his career that he returned an interception for a touchdown (at Buffalo, 12/11/05 as a rookie).
- In 2006, Sanders was part of a Patriots secondary that allowed just 10 touchdown passes by opponents, a mark that led the NFL and stands as the fewest allowed in team history for a single season.
- Sanders returned his first career interception 39 yards for a touchdown at Buffalo (12/11/05), grabbing a pass that had been tipped by Tedy Bruschi and racing into the end zone for the score.
2010 (15/9, 1/0)
- Played in 15 games with nine starts, missing one game due to injury. Finished the season with 63 total tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, six passes defensed and career-high three interceptions.
- Registered his third interception of the season, picking off Mark Sanchez on third-and-seven at the New England 44-yard line and returning it 28 yards in the fourth quarter, adding six tackles and one special teams tackle in a start against the Jets (12/6).
- Clinched a Patriots victory against the Colts when he picked off a Peyton Manning pass at the Patriots' six-yard line with the Patriots up by three with 31 seconds left in the game. The interception was Sanders' second in two weeks. He also contributed seven tackles in a start at defensive back against the Colts (11/21).
- Earned his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Steelers. He returned an interception of Ben Roethlisberger 32 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter and had three tackles and a pass defensed in a reserve role against the Steelers (11/14).
- Recovered a San Diego fumble and returned it 25 yards when WR Richard Goodman thought he was down by contact in the second quarter and registered three tackles (10/24).
- Made his first start of the season, making three tackles and one special teams tackle against the Jets (9/19).
- Forced a fumble on RB Cedric Benson, which was recovered by Rob Ninkovich, giving the Patriots a first down at the Bengals 28-yard line and recorded seven tackles in the season opener against the Cincinnati (9/12).
2009 (14/5, 1/1)
- Played in 14 games and made five starts at free safety, finishing the season with 39 total tackles, three passes defensed, one fumble recovery and five special teams tackles.
- Was inactive at Denver (10/11) and vs. Tennessee (10/18) due to an injury.
- Started vs. Buffalo (9/14) in the season-opener and then in the last four games of the season.
- Registered his first career fumble recovery vs. Atlanta (9/27), picking up a Michael Turner fumble following a hit by Brandon McGowan in the second quarter to end a Falcons' scoring threat at the New England 31-yard line.
- Started at free safety in the postseason game vs. Baltimore (1/10) and led the seconday and finished second on the team with nine tackles.
- Started 14 games at free safety and recorded 66 tackles (44 solo), placing sixth on the team and second among Patriots defensive backs.
- Recorded an interception, three passes defensed and tallied four special teams tackles.
- Tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with two while making five tackles in coverage against Miami (9/21).
- Grabbed his first interception of the season and the fifth interception of his career, picking off a Jay Cutler pass intended for Nate Jackson against Denver (10/20).
- Racked up seven tackles (4 solo) against the N.Y. Jets (11/13).
- Tallied seven tackles with four solo stops while making the start at free safety against Pittsburgh (11/30).
- Led the secondary with a single-game season-high eight tackles, which included seven solo stops.
2007 (15/15, 3/3)
- Set season career highs for games played and starts, getting the nod in all 15 games he played in.
- Established single-season career highs in tackles (73), solo tackles (60), interceptions (2), passes defensed (5) and special teams tackles (7).
- Led all secondary players with 73 tackles in 2007.
- Denied LaDainian Tomlinson of a first down on third and one while making four tackles (3 solo) against San Diego (9/16).
- Led the secondary with seven tackles vs. Buffalo (9/23).
- Led the secondary in tackles with seven in the Patriots' comeback win at Indianapolis (11/4).
- Tied for the team lead in tackles with six at Buffalo (11/18) and forced a fumble, allowing Ellis Hobbs to gather the loose ball, which he returned for a touchdown.
- Made his first interception of the season, snaring an A.J. Feeley pass vs. Philadelphia (11/25) and tallied a season high two passes defensed against the Eagles.
- Registered his second interception in as many weeks, picking off a Kyle Boller pass intended for Devard Darling and tacking on a 42-yard return in the Patriots' comeback win at Baltimore (12/3).
- Tallied a season-high eight tackles (7 solo) in the Patriots' win over Pittsburgh (12/9) also registered his first career fumble recovery.
- Set a single-game playoff career high with eight tackles (6 solo) in the Patriots' win over Jacksonville (1/12) in the AFC Divisional playoffs.
- Contributed four tackles (3 solo) in Super Bowl XLII (2/3).
2006 (16/5, 3/3)
- Played in all 16 regular season contests, starting five games at safety in addition to starting all three postseason games at safety.
- Finished the regular season with a then career-high 45 tackles (30 solo) and led the secondary with 17 playoff tackles, a total that placed third on the team.
- Started at safety against Chicago (11/26) and collected a then career-high seven tackles (5 solo) and a quarterback hit.
- Started at safety against Detroit (12/3) and tied for the team lead with 11 tackles (5 solo).
- Made a one-handed interception after Tedy Bruschi deflected a David Carr pass vs. Houston (12/17).
- Saw significant action at safety after Rodney Harrison left the game in the second quarter at Tennesee (12/31), posting seven tackles (6 solo) and a sack.
- Made the start at safety in place of Rodney Harrison in a Wild Card playoff game against the Jets (1/7).
- Posted six tackles (5 solo) and a sack in a divisional playoff game at San Diego (1/14).
- Finished tied for second on the team with seven tackles (5 solo) in the AFC Championship Game at Indianapolis (1/21).
2005 (10/2, 2/0)
- Started two of 10 games as a rookie, making 14 tackles, one interception for a touchdown and five special teams tackles.
- Participated in both playoff contests, making one special teams tackle.
- Returned his first career interception 39 yards for a touchdown at Buffalo (12/11).
- Made his NFL debut at Atlanta (10/9) and made his first career start against Denver (10/16).
- Made his first career NFL start and collected two solo tackles against Denver (10/16).
- Grabbed a pass that had been tipped by Tedy Bruschi and returned the interception 39 yards for a touchdown vs. Buffalo (12/11).
- Saw action as the dime back, notching a solo tackle and a fumble recovery against the N.Y. Jets (12/26).
- Started 32 of 40 games over three seasons for Fresno State (2002-04).
- Recorded 238 tackles (120 solo) with 24 tackles for losses totaling 80 yards, intercepted seven passes,returning one for a touchdown and recorded 18 passes defensed.
- Also tallied seven sacks, forced two fumbles, recovered two and blocked three kicks on special teams.
- Finished third on the team with 63 tackles (29 solo) as a junior in 2004, his final season with the Bulldogs and intercepted three passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.
- In 2003 was the only sophomore on the All-Western Athletic Conference first-team, playing in every game, starting 10 contests at strong safety.
- Was a first-team Freshman All-American selection by the Football Writers of America in 2002 and finished second on the team with 82 tackles (36 solo).
- James Sanders was born son of Kathy and Keith Thompson on November 11, 1983 in Porterville, Calif.
- Attended Monache (Porterville, Calif.) High School and was football team captain and MVP in 2000.
- Named to the Fresno Bee All-Star first-team defensive squad.
- Also played receiver, running back and returned punts and kicks.
- Was a health science major at Fresno State.
- James and his wife, Elysia, have a son, James Jr., and a daughter, Jordyn.
- James is the oldest of six children, and began taking care of his five younger siblings at an early age.
- The starting defensive backfield from James' junior season at Fresno State all play in the NFL. Cornerback Richard Marshall plays for Carolina, cornerback Marcus McCauley plays for Washington and safety Tyrone Culver plays for Miami.