Ffrench Connection to Football Almost Never Happened

Pitt receiver ready for NFL Draft

Jeff Hathhorn
April 22, 2020 - 10:48 am
Maurice Ffrench at Pitt

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – It is a parenting story that should go down in NFL Draft history, if it works out for Panther Maurice Ffrench.

The Pitt senior exploded in his last season, breaking All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald’s Panther record with 96 catches for 850 yards.  That caps a career of 156 catches for 1637 yards with another 800 yards in kick returns and a pair of touchdowns.

But leading up to playing in the NFL, Ffrench told the Fan of how this moment nearly never happened.

“I dreamt of this since I was a little kid, my mom never really even let me play football,” Ffrench said of finally being allowed to participate in his hometown of New Brunswick, NJ.  “Seventh grade was the first year I played, the years before that my mom said no.”

He thought he was getting to play earlier.

“Sixth grade year in Pop Warner you need to get a physical to play,” Ffrench explained.  “I went and got a physical, everything was aligned perfectly.  Out of nowhere we show up to the team and out of thin air the paper disappears and I have to sit out that year.”

“As I got older, my mom finally told me ‘I threw your physical down the drain just so you wouldn’t be able to play football’.”

Ffrench was 19 when his mom finally came clean after he had nagged her for years.

“My two years of Pop Warner I did really good.  In high school, I did really good.  Soon as I got in high school she fell in love with it because she saw me excel on a field and ever since then football made her happy.”

Not that it was easy to get so good, there was a lot of pain as well.

“I had God brothers that were really good in football,” Ffrench said.  “They showed me a lot.  I was playing with 16-year-olds when I was about 10-11 years-old.  Getting actually tackled by teenagers and what they showed me was to never quit.”

Ffrench took that with him to Pitt where he said Pat Narduzzi was always good to him.  He listed off a dozen names of teammates who he said are close to his heart and said he will always remember the blood, sweat and tears.

The 5’11”, 200 pound receiver is proud of getting that bowl win for his coach, grabbing 12 receptions for 165 yards , including a school-record 96 yard touchdown in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. 

French also said being a part of the Pitt Varsity Walk is a dream come true.

The record-setting receiver had a number of former teammates that have played at the next level and they told him to stay confident in himself.

“This is something you worked so hard for and you put in so much work for this day,” Ffrench said.  “Be happy and be blessed that I am in a position I am.  Soak it all in and wherever you end up, be happy and be ready to compete.”

Even with the lack of a pro day and restrictions on team visits, Ffrench believes he’s coming to the NFL at a perfect time where his skills meet the way the game is being played. 

And maybe his dream will come true over the weekend.

If his mom doesn’t throw away his draft card, or hide his phone.

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