Bill Belichick knew James Ferentz's dad when James was about the size of a set of shoulder pads. Now James is under contract with the Patriots.
The team announced on Thursday that it signed the free-agent offensive lineman, along with fourth-round pick Deatrich Wise and rookie free agent Sam Cotton.
Ferentz checks in at 6-foot-2, 285 pounds and spent the last two seasons with the Broncos. The 27-year-old entered the league in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa and spent that season on the Texans practice squad.
In 2015, Ferentz made it onto the field for 14 games and one postseason game (against the Patriots in the AFC title game) as the Broncos went on to win Super Bowl 50. Last season, he played in seven games for Denver. He was released last week.
Ferentz's father is Kirk Ferentz, who has been the head coach at Iowa since 1999. Before manning the sidelines for the Hawkeyes, Kirk spent time in the NFL with the Browns and Ravens. Belichick gave Ferentz his first NFL gig in Cleveland in 1993 as the Browns offensive line coach. Ferentz held that title through Belichick's tenure there and moved with the team to Baltimore, spending three seasons with the Ravens.
Belichick hired another one of Ferentz's sons, Brian, to the Patriots coaching staff in 2009. In 2011, Brian was the team's tight ends coach. The following Ferentz took over as Iowa's offensive line coach, and in January he was named the team's offensive coordinator.
The Patriots landed a pair of Iowa products as undrafted rookies earlier this offseason, signing offensive lineman Cole Croston and running back LeShun Daniels Jr.
Football is coming.
The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.
Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.
The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.
The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.
Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape.
OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.
The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.
Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent.