|« Morgan Suites to enhance Lamar University athletics facilities||At Penn vigil, grappling with athlete's suicide »|
Farnham savors the 'surreal'
Buddy Farnham could vividly describe just about every inch Patriots Place — Gillette Stadium, the surrounding practice facility, even the Bass Pro Shops — from outside the ropes.
“I’ve been there so many times, sitting on that hill to watch training camp with my dad during the summer,” admitted the former Andover High receiving legend.
Walking to the practice field this past weekend, on the inside from his locker in the home team’s room for the first time was an experience that the soon-to-be Ivy League grad may never ever be able to put into words.
“It was almost surreal to be on that field,” said the 6-foot, 194-pounder. “Being in the locker-room, seeing (his name on a Patriots locker), it was really cool.”
The Patriots made things official yesterday, announcing the free-agent acquisition of the undrafted Farnham. The 22-year-old Ivy League Player of the Year for Brown in the fall made the most of his two-day invitation to the recent rookie camp and will get his shot to rub elbows with Randy Moss and then bid to earn a job by catching passes from Tom Brady.
“I always had the confidence that I’d get the opportunity,” said Farnham, who is home in Andover readying for the finishing touches on his undergraduate studies. “I’ve worked as hard as I could to be the best that I could. To have the opportunity here, with the team I have been a fan of my whole life, is just unbelievable.
Farnham, who will receive his degree in commerce, organization and entrepreneurship from Brown on May 30, proudly carried on the family legacy at the school.
Over four years — three of which resulted in first-team All-Ivy honors — Farnham caught 229 passes at Brown for 2,895 yards and 27 touchdowns.
As a member of the Pats current 80-man roster, he’ll have the opportunity to take the pro career one step further than his uncle, Brown Hall of Famer Bobby Farnham, who actually spent time in the Browns training camp after his career in the Ivy League.
The ink hard hardly dried on the contract and Buddy had already been well-schooled by the Patriots in their ways.
Farnham, in pure Bill Belichick speak, talked in football generalities when describing the tryout and the process. It’s the Patriots way.
New England was the first team Farnham tried out for, although others had been in contact.
Clearly, he understands where he stands, the low man trying to work his way up a wide-receiving totem pole that features a pair of Pro Bowlers in Moss and Wes Welker at the very top.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” said Farnham. “I’m just so grateful to be in the presence of such a great coach like (Belichick), to have the opportunity to learn the game here in this organization.”
Farnham prepped for the post-draft free agent period in a “Life in the NFL,” mini-crash course in Arizona with friend, confidante and fellow Brown product Sean Morey of the Cardinals.
In addition to working out with the nine-year pro, Farnham absorbed lessons on what lies ahead in the challenges of making a pro roster.
“Sean’s been great — growing up he was a role-model,” said Farnham. “I grew up watching him play, pretending to be him when we played in the back yard. He’s been great, training with him and picking his brain. It’s been nice to have a friend like that.”
Once school is in the rear-view mirror, Farnham will set his mind on the Pats playbook.
“We barely scratched the surface in rookie camp,” he said.
Mini-camps and team offseason training activities — his first interaction with the veterans on the team — sit on the horizon.
He is one of a dozen receivers currently signed on the roster, including the injured Welker and veteran free-agent pickups Torry Holt and David Patten.
“The opportunity is amazing. Whatever I ever do for this team, I will be doing the best that I possibly can,” said Farnham. “I’m here to learn, and I’m looking to soak it all in. I can’t wait.”
Best of Buddy
Andover’s Buddy Farnham has the opportunity of a lifetime, having officially signed as a rookie free agent with the New England Patriots.
Here’s a look at some pertinent Farnham facts:
At Andover High — He earned Eagle-Tribune All-Star status three times, setting school records for interceptions (20), catches (154) and receiving yardage (2,664). As a senior, he dominated with 53 catches for 894 yards and 8 TDs.
At Brown University — He won the 2009 New England Gold Helmet and Ivy League Player of the Year. Over four seasons, he caught 229 passes for 2,895 yards and 27 touchdowns.
In preparing for a potential pro career — He ran a 4.60 and a 4.54 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL’s Pro Day workouts. He also went 10-foot-1 in the standing broad jump and a 6.84 in the 3-cone drill.
Farnham savors the ’surreal’
By Hector Longo, The Andover Eagle-Tribune (MA)