ELYRIA — Chase Farris, who has run drills alongside 2016 Super Bowl champs New England Patriots, returned home Sunday to encourage youths to excel.
Farris, an Elyria native and a member of the 2014 Ohio State University national championship football team, received a “Hometown Hero” award from Ambassador Brothers of Lorain County and a proclamation from the city marking March 26 as Chase Farris Day during an Elyria Youth Pioneers football skills and conditioning camp at South Park Recreation Center.
“What I came back for is y’all,” Farris, who also spent time with the Detroit Lions, told a group of boys taking a break from running drills. “When I was growing up, I didn’t have anybody to look up to or anybody to prove to me that I could be successful, that I could be in the NFL.”
Councilman Marcus Madison said Farris was proof of Elyria’s potential.
“Sometimes people give this neighborhood a bad name, but today it’s all smiles,” Madison said. “This is a reflection of who we are as a community, a reflection of where we’re going, so let’s raise the bar and let’s continue to raise the standards so that our kids, the people that are in this room, have a fighting chance.”
Farris was an offensive lineman for the Buckeyes when the team won the national championship and he earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Patriot’s practice squad this year.
“What this is today, this is an opportunity to celebrate,” Madison said. “When is the last time we’ve come together as a family to highlight the positive things coming to this neighborhood?”
Madison thanked Ambassador Brothers for sponsoring the event and thanked Frank Whitfield, president and CEO of Lorain County Urban League, for being a positive role model in the community.
“There are going to be so many different situations where people are going to say you’re not good enough … but look around this room, young people, you’ve got people in your corner to tell you that you can dream big,” Madison said.
Farris said he didn’t have anyone local to look up to when he was growing up.
“For me to be able to try to fill that void for y’all and to let you know that, I’m here in the flesh. So if anybody tells you that you can’t do something, just look, I’m a living product of it,” Farris said.
He was honest with the kids, saying that his grades weren’t always stellar in school but that having a good attitude has gotten him far in life.
“Attitude is everything. Having a bad attitude is not going to get you anywhere,” Farris said. “It’s going to do nothing but hurt you. You want to play on the field, you better get your attitude right. If not, you fall short.”
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