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NFL: Elyria graduate Chase Farris didn't get drafted, but signing with Lions means he still gets to live his dream

  • Ohio-State-Pro-Day-Football

    Ohio State offensive lineman Chase Farris runs a drill during NFL Pro Day at Ohio State University in Columbus on March 11. AP PHOTO



Chase Farris watched the fourth round of the NFL Draft and a bit of the fifth hoping to see his name pop up on NFL Network.

“After that I just realized if it was going to happen it was going to happen,” he said Sunday by phone. “Staring at the TV screen was not going to make it happen.”

Farris, an Elyria High and Ohio State graduate, didn’t want to stress himself out, so he started flipping channels. He settled on cartoons for a while, then locked in on a movie.

His name was never called in the draft, but his phone blew up with interested teams. The calls began during the draft — a couple of times he thought he was getting the “you’re drafted call” — as teams checked in to see what he was thinking about free agency.

“The process was pretty much done as soon as the last pick went through,” said Farris, an offensive lineman. “I almost had my mind made up.”

Farris quickly signed with the Detroit Lions and will head to the Motor City on Thursday for rookie minicamp.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” he said.

Farris said the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals also called, but he had a previous connection with the Lions and knew they were interested.

He had a private workout for them at the end of March, attended by general manager Bob Quinn, coach Jim Caldwell and offensive line coach Ron Prince. Afterward, they watched film.

“It was a great workout, I got positive feedback from it,” Farris said.

The dream is to get drafted in the first round, but Farris knew that wasn’t going to happen. So he wasn’t disappointed by going undrafted.

“After a certain point, you almost don’t want to get drafted,” he said.

That way the player has the final say.

Farris’ agent had researched interested teams and determined the Lions were the best fit. They genuinely wanted him and gave him the bonus to prove it. He’s not sure if they’ll put him at right tackle, where he started for the Buckeyes as a senior, or shift him inside to guard.

Another bonus will be a reunion with Ohio State left tackle Taylor Decker. The Lions took him with the No. 16 pick.

“It’s crazy,” Farris said. “We played at Ohio State, trained together in the offseason, even lived together in Arizona while at LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Performance. Now we’re going to Detroit together.

“It’s like we’re on a journey.”

Farris said he was inundated with congratulatory messages Saturday and Sunday, including one on social media from Bentley, who played at Ohio State and in the NFL.

“All calls are welcome,” Farris said. “People understand what I went through to get to this point in my life.”

He’s ready to take the next, life-changing step.

“I feel any person going into a new situation has some sense of nervousness,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you have to be confident in your ability to compete at a high level with those around you.

“I feel confident I put in the necessary work this spring to prove myself as a roster guy for sure.”

That’s the goal. To make the Lions’ regular-season roster.

“Once you get to this point, if you don’t have confidence in your ability to make things happen, you’re in the wrong business,” Farris said.

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