EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 12, 2011

Andover's Farnham a two-way star

By Hector Longo
hlongo@eagletribune.com

FOXBORO — It was Aug. 26 last year against the Rams in week 3 of the preseason

That was the last time Buddy Farnham wore the real Patriots' No. 13 before the home fans here at Gillette Stadium.

Friends and family watched Farnham sit for 60 minutes. It hurt Andover's Farnham, who shrugged it off.

Last night in the exhibition opener here against Jacksonville, Farnham washed that bad taste away for good. The 2010 Brown University grad played one of many starring roles in a 47-12 shellacking of the Jaguars.

"I don't really want to talk about that, the past is the past," said Farnham, who has the "Patriot way" down pat when it comes to the media. "I don't even remember it."

Well, this one is a night he will remember.

Farnham's two-way performance — shining at receiver with three catches for 34 yards and then picking off a pass on defense when switched to safety in the fourth quarter — drew praise from Pats coach Bill Belichick in his opening remarks.

"We were able to make some plays and Buddy stepped in there," said Belichick, again without any prompting. "We've got a receiver leading the team in interceptions. It will be a point of embarrassment for the defensive backs. But it's all right. They deserve it."

For Farnham, it was just another day in training camp 2011, where he fights as a long shot to make the roster of his hometown football team.

"I'm a football player, I'll play whatever I have to that's best for the team," said Farnham, who was cut after the preseason last year and joined the team late in the season on the practice squad. "I didn't have any expectations, just prepare myself like I'm going to play the whole game. That's what I do."

He entered the game in the second quarter — facing a mixture of starters and second-teamers. Farnham ran sharp routes, blocked well on edge runs and caught one pass for three yards.

The former Andover High great added two more catches in the third from rookie Ryan Mallett. The first was a clutch 6-yarder on 4th-and-3 that kept a drive alive, resulting in Stevan Ridley's 1-yard TD. The other was good for 25 yards, pushing the Pats to the Jags' 21 on the way to another Ridley score.

And then, of course, there was the switch to safety and the fourth-quarter pick of Jacksonville's Todd Bouman.

"I just tried to read the quarterback and then just do whatever happens naturally," said Farnham. "Earlier this week I went over there (to defense) a little bit. Like I said, I'm just ready for anything.

"It's good to make some positive plays and to play a role on this team. But I'm always trying to get better. I'm never satisfied. Now, it's time to make corrections. I had a lot of fun, just relax and play football like I have my whole life."