Monday, October 28, 2019

James Ferentz says it was special to finally make first NFL start

New England Patriots offensive lineman James Ferentz, left, blocks Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson in the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug.22, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. - (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Mark Daniels

FOXBORO –James Ferentz will likely never forget his son Forest’s third birthday.
On Sunday, the 30-year-old made the first NFL start of his career after coming into the NFL in 2014. Ferentz started at right guard, in place of Shaq Mason, as the Patriots beat the Cleveland Browns, 27-13.
It was a special moment for the veteran, who worked hard to get to this life-defining moment. He said it became even better when he was able to see his son, the birthday boy, after the game.
“Coming out off the field and getting to see him was pretty special because I didn’t get to see him this morning and do the presents,” Ferentz said. “That was really special getting to see him on his third birthday. He won’t remember it, but I will.”
Ferentz made his NFL debut back in 2015 when he made the Denver Broncos 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent. It’s taken a long time to get here - his first start - but Sunday was an example of what happens when you don’t give up. He came into the league in 2014, but spent that year on Houston’s practice squad.
Ferentz earned a championship ring in 2015 when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. The offensive lineman made his NFL debut that season. He played in seven games in 2016 and made his way to Foxboro, on the Patriots practice squad in 2017. Last year, he played in just two games with the Patriots.
This summer, Ferentz was actually released on cut-down day. The Patriots made several trades, including for guard Jermaine Eluemunor and center Russell Bodine, but Ferentz has surpassed both. He was re-signed to the Patriots when they released Bodine, a veteran center.
On Sunday, Ferentz didn’t find out he was starting until the morning when Mason was put through a test to see how his ankle was pregame.
“Shaq was just a fluid situation all week. It was kind of hard to even make a call,” Ferentz said. “I don’t think that no one really could until this morning when he went out there for his work out and it just wasn’t going to happen.”
Ferentz admitted he felt the nerves, but said he settled down as the game went on. It’s been a long journey, but this journeyman finally started an NFL game. It was a special moment for Ferentz, who grew up in football (he’s the son of Iowa head coach, Kirk Ferentz).
“I tell my mom this all the time because she keeps asking me, ‘how long are you going to do it?’ I’ll keep going as long as I can,” Ferentz said. “I love this sport. It’s provided for my family as a kid and now I get to provide for my personal family as an adult. I love this sport. I love all the opportunities it’s given myself. I just kind of keep my head down and try to keep having a job.”

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