Penn State football notebook: Farrell hoping to seize NFL opportunity
College Football Videos
Former Penn State offensive tackle Mike Farrell had little contact with the Steelers leading up to the NFL Draft. So imagine his surprise when he got a call from Steelers offensive line coach Jack Bicknell on Saturday near the end of the NFL Draft.
That conversation eventually led to Farrell signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, and put him in a position to play for his hometown team. Farrell, who started at right and left tackle last season for Penn State, signed with the Steelers on Saturday night after receiving interest from a handful of teams.
Rookies and first-year players will take part in minicamp practices that start Friday at the Steelers' South Side headquarters.
“It's been pretty amazing,” Farrell said Sunday, “and it makes me more anxious to get to work.”
The Shady Side Academy graduate didn't just pick the Steelers because he grew up rooting for them. The Steelers didn't draft any offensive linemen — they signed six, including former West Virginia center Joe Madsen, as undrafted free agents — and they need depth along the offensive line.
Farrell's familiarity with the Steelers goes beyond his growing up in Pittsburgh.
He is a former high school teammate and good friend of Dan Rooney, the son of president Art Rooney II. Dan Rooney, who works for the NFL in New York, was among the many people who called Farrell to congratulate him after signing with the Steelers.
He also heard from former Penn State teammates who hail from Western Pennsylvania and met up with Adam Gress, a West Mifflin graduate, after signing with the Steelers. Gress is projected to take over at right tackle for Farrell this season, and the two are close friends.
“They're pretty excited,” Farrell said of a group that includes family members, former teammates and friends. “It just so happens (the Steelers) could be a good fit for me. I think once I get to work, it will all sink in.”
No hard feelings
The NCAA sanctions that punished players who had nothing to do with the Jerry Sandusky scandal fueled former Penn State outside linebacker Michael Mauti's fire in 2012. So too did the presence of Illinois assistant coaches on Penn State's campus after the NCAA allowed players to transfer without penalty.
But Mauti said he won't take any extra motivation with him to Minnesota even though he didn't get taken until the seventh round of the draft.
“This is business,” said Mauti, who led Penn State to an 8-4 record last season and was named the Big Ten's outstanding linebacker. “It's nothing personal.”
Mauti lasted until the 213th pick of the draft because he tore the ACL in his left knee in November and sustained three such injuries while at Penn State. Mauti said he made such progress since having reconstructive knee injury that he doesn't plan on sitting out this season.
“Absolutely, I'll be able to play this year,” he said.
Mauti and former Penn State teammate and good friend Gerald Hodges, also an outside linebacker, were each drafted by the Vikings.
Mauti had hoped to get drafted higher, but when the Vikings picked him it provided more than a measure of relief.
“I couldn't be happier all of this is over,” Mauti said.
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates can’t overcome long rain delay, Indians in interleague setback
- Pirates notebook: Taillon headed for surgery, Richard traded
- Gorman: Barnstorming tour bigger than baseball
- Tiny black weevils booming in W.Pa.
- New Penguin Kessel’s shot is what makes him special
- Ex-teammates say Kessel unfairly criticized
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Indians, July 4, 2015
- MLB notebook: Yankees to donate $150K to charity for A-Rod’s 3,000th hit ball
- America’s path to freedom reflected in region’s numerous historic sites
- Youngwood man’s crash knocks out power in Monessen
- Russian winger Plotnikov could join Penguins in August