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NFL Player Inspires Elementary Students with Stories of School, Friendships, and Sports

New England Patriots center, James Ferentz with Coach Mussington and PCS elementary students.

His name is James Ferentz and he plays center for the Patriots. He’s new to New England and was a member of the Denver Broncos in 2016 when they won the Super Bowl championship.

A native of Iowa, Ferentz says he loved PE and science as a kid and chose wrestling as his sport in seventh grade. As a sophomore at Iowa City High School, when he realized that his options for college would be determined by his grades and sports performance, he joined the football team and worked hard on improving his grades to be accepted to the University of Iowa, where his father, Kirk Ferentz, was coach. It turns out that his older brother Brian would later become his offensive lineman coach, so James had to learn how to take instructions from his father and older sibling on the playing field as well as at home!

While football wasn’t always his first love, it has become his passion. James enjoys the friendships he has developed in college and on NFL teams, and especially likes traveling to new areas of the country with his wife Skyler and their son.

The students prepared many great questions related to his career, including wondering who his best friends were. He couldn’t take the time to list all his teammates, but mentioned Riley Reiff of the Minnesota Vikings, who was his college roommate for four years at the University of Iowa, and David Andrews who also plays center for the Patriot’s offensive line.

When asked what he would do if he wasn’t playing football, James immediately mentioned teaching as his second career choice. He told the students that someday, maybe 20 years from now, they will look back and remember how terrific their teachers were and how their education at Paul Cuffee School shaped their lives.

He then did 5 push-ups at the request of the students, and took the center position in the front row for a photograph with his appreciative audience.

Thank you to Coach Mussington for arranging this visit. Having James Ferentz talk with our kids about the importance of doing well in school, good nutrition, and friendships as well as his NFL career, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience they will always remember!