Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seahawks-Bucs: Injuries at tailback give George Farmer an opening with Seattle

SEATTLE — The football team at Serra High in Gardena, Calif., in 2009 featured a secondary/receiving corps with four players who would go on to be taken in the NFL draft — three in the second round.

There was a time, though, when one member of that team who would not be so fortunate when it came to the draft — George Farmer — was considered maybe the best of them all.

"George is just a freak athlete," said Seahawks receiver Paul Richardson, who was one of the quartet of Serra High players on the 2009 team who went on to be drafted, the others being Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, each also later stars at USC who became second-round picks, and Bene Benwikere, who played at San Jose State and was a fifth-round pick.

That freak athleticism — Farmer ran 10.4 seconds in the 100 meters in a high school track meet — helped him become one of the most highly touted football recruits in the country in fall 2010 (he was one of the receivers on the Parade Magazine All-American team that year, a group that also included Kasen Williams).

But after signing at USC, where Farmer was initially recruited by Pete Carroll before Carroll headed to the Seahawks, things began to go awry.

A variety of injuries and ailments big and small — including a bite from a brown recluse spider as a sophomore and a torn ACL as a junior — resulted in Farmer's college career generally being considered a disappointment. He had just 30 catches for 363 yards in three seasons at USC.

It also resulted in Farmer going undrafted after deciding to leave school with one year of eligibility left following the 2014 season.

Farmer, though, is again a teammate of Richardson's, having been promoted from the Seahawks practice squad to the active roster this week to add depth at the injury-riddled tailback spot for Sunday's game against the Bucs.

And Richardson predicts his former high school teammate may finally be in the right place at the right time to fulfill all the promise he showed at Serra.

"He has great size (listed at 6 feet 1, 220 pounds); he's fast," Richardson said. "And he's earning (the coaches) trust. I think we are about to see that he's going to do really well."

Not that anyone really expected the Seahawks would be calling on him right now. But Farmer's promotion this week typified a Seattle running back situation that has had its share of unexpected twists and turns all season.

After surprisingly releasing Christine Michael last week, the Seahawks seemed set to go the rest of the year with Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and Troymaine Pope at tailback with rookie Alex Collins also in the mix as needed.

But then Prosise broke a shoulder blade and Pope suffered a high ankle sprain against the Eagles, and the Seahawks suddenly had an opening.

For once, Farmer's timing was good.

He has been with the Seahawks off and on since training camp in 2015 (he had a brief stint with the Cowboys, as well) and been used variously as a cornerback, a receiver and a running back (he played running back for a time in 2011 at USC before concentrating on receiver).

Farmer was making a serious run up the depth chart as a third-down back in training camp, in part due to injuries to Prosise, before suffering an injury on the day before the final exhibition game at Oakland.

Farmer said his foot "got stepped on and kind of twisted up a little bit." The Seahawks waived Farmer as injured, though also indicating to him they'd bring him back later.

Farmer said he needed about six weeks to get healthy, and the Seahawks then re-signed him to the practice squad in November. He likely would have stayed there if not for the injuries to Prosise and Pope, the latter of whom figures to be out for a week or two.

With Prosise sidelined, Rawls is now the starter, with Collins as his backup. But Farmer figures to be active Sunday at Tampa, potentially seeing action as a third-down back, if not more, depending on how events unfold.

"We're not scared to put him in there," said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.

And if he does get in, then he'll finally be where everyone once expected him to be, even if few could have anticipated the route he took to get there.

"Life is unpredictable," Farmer said. "You've just got to know how to weather adversity and overcome it. So that's what I look at. I just look back at that and I wouldn't change a thing. I'm thankful for every moment, and my journey up until this point made me a lot of who I am."

Comments
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Updated: 11 hours ago
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Published: 05/22/18
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Published: 05/22/18
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

Bucs Jameis Winston gets engaged to long-time girlfriend Breion Allen who says, ‘Well, it’s about damn time’

On a day when the Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was taking place across the pond, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston proposed marriage to his long-time girlfriend Breion Allen Saturday in New York City.She said yes.The proposal to...
Published: 05/21/18
Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

Could Bucs find another undrafted rookie tight end in 2018?

At no position is the Bucs' ability to find talent outside the NFL draft more clear than at tight end, where three of the four returning players from last season joined the Bucs as undrafted rookie free agents.Cameron Brate did so in 2014, Alan Cross...
Published: 05/21/18
Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Why the Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule isn’t as bad as it seems

Saints, Eagles, Steelers.Three games against three playoff teams to open the NFL season.Who in the league scheduling office did the Buccaneers tick off?What an injustice!Or not.Maybe the league did the Bucs a favor.Would you rather face the Saints, E...
Published: 05/21/18
O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

O-line coach ‘ecstatic’ about Bucs drafting Vita Vea

Add another to the long list of Bucs players and coaches excited about first-round pick Vita Vea: offensive line coach George Warhop.Warhop said the 347-pound defensive tackle from Washington kept showing up as he looked at tape on Pac-12 offensive l...
Published: 05/19/18
Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

Pillow talk: O-line coach says Bucs need tougher approach to run the ball

TAMPA — At least he stopped short of calling them soft. That's not a word you ever want to use when describing an NFL player, much less the entire offensive line. That would be a tough pillow to swallow.But it's clear George Warhop didn't like ...
Published: 05/19/18