Andrew Ford has already made a career in football by creating opportunities for himself. His ability to network is quite underrated, as well.
The former Cedar Cliff and record-setting quarterback at Massachusetts is now five months into his latest assignment with one of the NFL’s top franchises.
And he’s having a blast dissecting defenses and evaluating talent as a scouting assistant with the Arizona Cardinals.
“It’s kind of a broad title. We do a little bit of everything,” said Ford, whose successful playing career wiggled through Virginia Tech, Lackawanna College and then UMass, where he passed for 6,955 yards and 57 touchdowns over three seasons.
“Whether it’s monitoring guys that get cut around the league, following up with agents, making sure everyone is healthy, it all helps with the big picture,” he said.
“We watch free agency and moves. We’re in constant communication with college directors and we’re already preparing for next year’s draft. My focus now is on the pro side doing anything they ask me to do.”
Ford’s potential future as an NFL quarterback was essentially derailed by a season-ending knee injury during his final year (2018) in Amherst.
It cost the former Pa. Gatorade Player of the Year a shot to participate in any of the college postseason all-star games or audition at the ‘19 NFL combine.
Roughly a year later, the pandemic canceled Ford’s invitation to try out for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.
Thankfully, an opportunity to assist with scouting and schemes for The 33rd Team, a creation of ESPN Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum, the former New York Jets’ GM, got Ford back in the game last year.
Ford’s latest move was fast-tracked by a couple of key individuals, Red Land alum and Cardinals GM Steve Keim topping the list.
“It’s funny because while working with Mike and The 33rd Team, there were other coaches that also were trying to get back in (to the league). Most of the hiring takes place after the NFL Draft,” said Ford, who fielded a call from Ryan Gold, a UMass alum and the Cardinals’ college scouting coordinator.
“Ryan asked me if I would be interested in flying out to Phoenix for an interview. Of course, I said yes. It was mid-May and I flew out on a Sunday, interviewed on Monday and was hired on Tuesday. I came home, packed my bags and moved out. It all happened in a week.”
It helped that Spencer Whipple, Arizona’s assistant wide receivers coach, was the passing game coordinator at UMass during Ford’s senior year.
The Cardinals’ roster includes Harrisburg native and starting RB Chase Edmonds, and wide receiver Andy Isabella played with Ford at UMass.
And when the hurried move to Arizona presented Ford without an immediate place to stay, the QB had a best friend from home waiting to help out. Cedar Cliff alum Adam Breneman was in the middle of his second season as an Arizona State assistant coach.
“That was kind of funny. I didn’t even want to tell Adam I was interviewing because I didn’t know if I would even get the job,” said Ford.
“But he said ‘dude, I have an extra room.’ I moved right into his house in Scottsdale.”
Ford said he now spends most of his time creating advance reports, breakdowns of upcoming opponents. He’s acclimated to life in the desert and even his dad, a longtime Philadelphia Eagles fan, has reconfigured his allegiance.
The Cardinals (6-0) are the last unbeaten in the NFL and currently sit a game clear of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West. Arizona hosts the Houston Texans (1-5) at 4:25 EST Sunday.
“Right now, it’s all in-person stuff. I help with the advance reports and we work in advance of the team we play the following week,” said Ford.
“It’s what they do well, what don’t they do well, basically what to expect from that opponent. And with the trade deadline coming up, there’s a lot to do.”
Follow Eric Epler on Twitter -- @threejacker
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Source : https://www.pennlive.com/sports/2021/10/cedar-cliff-alum-andrew-ford-enjoying-new-role-with-nfls-arizona-cardinals.html1184