Brown grad Farnham fighting odds to make Pats squad
By Robert Lee
Providence Journal Sports Writer
But that's not going to stop the former Brown University star receiver from giving it everything he's got in order to impress New England's coaching staff to try to earn a roster spot or become a practice-squad player.
Of the five undrafted and unsigned rookies that were invited to New England's rookie mini-camp last month, Farnham was the only one to earn a rookie contract, so he's definitely doing something right. He even survived a second round of receiver cuts as the Patriots released former Central Michigan star Bryan Anderson last week.
When he signed his rookie deal with the Pats on May 3, it gave him the opportunity to live out his childhood dream.
"Growing up, always being a fan of the Patriots, it's pretty cool," Farnham said of his opportunity to practice with the team. "I used to come here every year and sit in the stands with my dad. Now getting to be on the field is a pretty cool experience."
The 6-foot, 185-pound Farnham, who grew up in Andover, Mass., is one of 11 receivers competing for a roster spot. He's spent most of his time practicing with fellow rookie receivers Taylor Price and Darnelll Jenkins along with rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
"These guys are the best at what they do, and I just come out here and do the best that I can do," Farnham said. "That's all you can do."
Last season, the Patriots had only six different receivers to catch a pass, so Farnham knows that the Pats will probably cut four to five more receivers, with one or two of them making the practice squad. And Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Torry Holt, Brandon Tate and Taylor Price will probably be the six that will make the active roster if the Pats choose to carry only six.
But he's not looking that far ahead just yet.
"It's been a great experience," Farnham said of practicing with the Pats.
"All I do is come out here and do what I'm told 100 miles an hour, whether I'm the underdog or not. That's all you can do."
Farnham recorded 74 catches for 1,003 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Brown last year, when he became the fourth player in Brown history to be named the Ivy League Player of the Year. The Bears coaching staff tried to get the ball into his hands as much as possible. It didn't matter if that was by catching passes, running him on reverses or using him as the primary punt and kickoff returner.
His 100.3 receiving yards per game ranked fifth in the nation. He finished his career at Brown with 229 receptions, which ranks sixth in Ivy League history, and 2,895 receiving yards, which is seventh.
The three-time, first team All-Ivy selection said that it has been a big adjustment from running plays in college to running routes in the pros.
"I just take it one day at a time," Farnham said after practice Wednesday. "When you come into a new system, you've got to clean your slate from all the stuff you've learned in college and just learn the new terminology."
If he does make the team, Farnham would join Sean Morey and Zak DeOssie as Brown alums playing in the NFL.
Farnham was thinking of trying out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but at the last minute decided to try out for the Patriots instead. He did not want to reveal what went into that decision.
"I don't really think about it," Farnham said. "That stuff is the past, and now all I'm worried about is tomorrow."
No matter what happens with the Patriots, Farnham says he is living his dream. Playing in the NFL "is something that I wanted to do my whole life," he said.