IOWA CITY — Kirk Ferentz has always encouraged his players to chase their dreams once their college football careers are over.
And because one former Iowa player embraced that fatherly advice from the Hawkeye football coach, James Ferentz will have a chance to play in the Super Bowl.
The backup center for the Denver Broncos is the son of the Iowa coach, seeing time on special teams and the line this year for a team that will face Carolina in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
It wasn’t all that long ago that James Ferentz was working for Randy’s Carpets in Coralville, shortly after earning second-team all-Big Ten honors as a third-year starting center for the Hawkeyes as a senior in 2012.
“It’s hard for me to talk because I’m his dad, but he’s a good story,’’ Kirk Ferentz said. “He’s a really good story and if I wasn’t his dad, he would be one of our great stories. The guy was working for Randy’s Carpets. Basically, he was moving carpet around. I don’t think they actually let him put it down. He’s not that refined, but that was what he was doing, that and training here.’’
And after being out of football in 2013, James Ferentz wanted more.
Ferentz earned a spot on the Houston Texans’ practice squad in 2014 but was cut shortly before the start of the current NFL season. He signed with Denver a week before the regular season kicked off and has seen weekly action on the Broncos active roster all year.
Once Iowa’s season ended in the Rose Bowl, the Hawkeye coach and his wife Mary have enjoyed a chance to be fans in recent weeks.
“I’m not as much a fan of teams as I am of people, people like our guys involved,’’ Ferentz said, referencing the eight former Hawkeyes who competed in the NFL playoffs this month. “It’s fun to watch and fun to have a chance to catch up.’’
While he has always found it tough to brag a bit despite the pride he has in the accomplishments of all five of his children, the 18th-year Iowa coach appreciates the journey that led his 26-year-old son to realize his Super Bowl dreams.
“It’s a good story of sticking with your dream and chasing it,’’ Ferentz said. “I encourage all of our guys to do that. That’s what your 20s are for in my mind, chase your dreams a little bit and see where they take you. You’ve got your whole life to work a real job. It’s great. I’m really happy for him.’’