Jets' S Matthias Farley strives to pay forward his experiences, both on and off the field.
Farley's high school coach at Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina, where three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP Stephen Curry is an alumnus, was Eugene Robinson. Robinson played 16 years in the NFL as a safety and had a big influence on a young Farley, who went on to play in college at Notre Dame. After going undrafted in 2016, Farley is now on his third team and has taken rookie S Ashtyn Davis under his wing.
"I think any time you've had the opportunity to gain experience, you can pass that experience on and maybe help somebody avoid some of the same mistakes or pitfalls that you might have fallen in yourself," Farley said. "I was a beneficiary of that on a couple different teams of guys reaching out to me, taking me under their wing and encouraging me. Now being on the other side of it, it's kind of strange being looked at as an older guy, but at the same time, I pay forward all the knowledge that I was given and granted by older guys throughout my career so far."
He added about his relationship with Davis: "Ashtyn and I have a really cool relationship. If you're a drafted player, you have to prove they were right in choosing you. If you're an undrafted player, you have to prove that they were wrong in not [taking you]. I think having a couple years of experience, having gone through a couple different teams and change and things like that, I try to be a positive voice for him day in and day out with the ebbs and flows of a rookie season. You get in, you don't. He got banged up a couple weeks ago. All those things take a toll on you mentally, so to be a positive voice in his ear all the time. He's more than capable. He's a freak athlete, really smart, really loves the game of football, so being a positive influence is all I'm really focused on."
Farley is a special teams stalwart for coach Brant Boyer's unit and leads the team in coverage tackles while serving as the punt protector for rookie Braden Mann. He's also one of five team captains in his second year with the Green & White.
"It's a huge honor especially when you're elected by your peers, your teammates," he said. "It's a big honor but also a lot of responsibility. You have to make sure you're leading by example and doing the right things yourself on and off the field day in and day out and just being somebody who's consistent and a voice for the locker room, for anybody to come and talk to. It's definitely a huge highlight for me and I'm grateful to be elected."
Farley finds strength in being outside his comfort zone. He likes to learn about his teammates at different position groups because "you go a little harder for somebody if you know more about their story." He also enjoys being active in the community and recently made a virtual hospital visit to the Atlantic Health Goryeb Children's Hospital, speaking with youngsters who have pediatric cancer.
"First and foremost, we have an amazing platform in the NFL being able to be backed by the New York Jets," he said. "I don't feel special, I don't think anyone necessarily feels special, but to be able to put that jersey on and brighten somebody's day because you're backed by something so much bigger than you, I think that's super important we all take advantage of that platform. Also, you never know the impact that 10-to-5 or two minutes of your time that you give to somebody, that can really change the trajectory of their life. I was a beneficiary of that growing up. … I'd be kicking myself if I didn't take advantage of that."