Just over a week ago, the Nebraska Danger traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin, for a Sunday afternoon game against the Green Bay Blizzard.
The Danger won that game 57-32, then jumped on the bus and headed home. About 13 hours later, they arrived in Grand Island bright and early Monday morning.
No doubt many of the players went on, kicked back, and relaxed for a few hours before they had to go in for team meetings.
Not receiver Kayne Farquharson.
As soon as he got to his apartment, he called Danger general manager Mike McCoy and asked him if he was going to pick him up for a speaking engagement at Dodge Elementary.
McCoy told him he was already there with two other players who hadn’t made the trip to Green Bay and that he should relax and not worry about it.
Not Farquharson. He jumped in his car and drove to Dodge.
“He walked in there and gave an incredible speech in front of like 520 students,” McCoy said. “That just tells you what he’s all about and his commitment to the city of Grand Island and to this community.
“He’s here to play football and get better obviously, but he’s also here to do the community things that we need to do. He’s by far our team spokesperson. I really think he could run for political office here and potentially win maybe some day. He’s just a great, great young man who really gets it.”
As far as Farquharson is concerned, it was no big deal. He had a message to deliver and he was going to get it done.
“I wanted to tell the kids that decision making is very important and they have to be accountable,” Farquharson said. “Even though I just came from a 14-hour bus ride, I had promised the kids and I wanted to be a man of my word.
“Doing things for the kids puts them at a good place. When I was younger and professional athletes came, it was always a pleasure to hear what they had to say.”
Farquharson remembers what that was like as a youngster to meet those professional athletes. That’s why he makes it a point to get to every meet-and-greet and speaking engagement he can.
McCoy said the team had 109 such events last year, and estimated that Farquharson was at 90 percent of them.
Just doing his job, Farquharson said.
“It’s part of my job description,” Farquharson said. “It’s pretty much a blessing. I know we’re not in the NFL, but in those kid’s eyes, you would have thought I was Adrian Peterson.
“Just the look in their eye and they whisper, ‘He’s a Danger player.’ It’s a good feeling.”
This is Farquharson’s fourth season with the Danger. He’s been an all-IFL player three times — a second-teamer in 2012 (74 catches, 915 yards, 26 TDs) and 2014 (54 catches, 690 yards, 12 TDs), a first-teamer in 2013 (73 catches, 1,081 yards, 21 TDs) and a second-teamer again last year (54 catches, 690 yards, 12 TDs).
McCoy still remembers when Farquharson joined the Danger before the 2012 season.
“He stood up and he just took over the room right then,” McCoy said. “I mean, ‘Hi. I’m Kayne Farquharson from Miami. I’m here to win football games. We’re going to do this thing the right way and I’m going to work hard and we’re all here for the right reasons.’
“This is what pro football is all about at it’s purest form. These guys make $225 a game plus room and board. They’re not making millions of dollars.”
For Farquharson, the money he makes isn’t the most important thing. What matters the most is playing his best and giving back to the community.
“He gets it. He really, really gets it and he understands the importance of doing the right thing in the community,” McCoy said. “Even when he and I are like walking through Walmart, kids will come up and mob him and he will talk to each young person about coming to the game on Saturday and how much fun they’ll have. He’s on all the time, 24-7, not just when we go to school.”
It’s a bit surprising to see a Miami native like Farquharson adopt a smaller city in the middle of Nebraska as a second home town, but that’s exactly what he’s done.
So why does he keep coming back?
“The community, the coaching staff, my fellow teammates,” Farquharson said. “It’s a great city. Coming from Miami, there are so many lanes at times. Grand Island is a slower city for me. I save more money. I learn a lot from the Bosselmans and the people that are surrounding me. It’s a good pace for me. It’s kind of a second home now.”
Farquharson has nothing to prove to the IFL. He’s already shown what he can do on the football field.
But his work here is not yet done. The Danger is 2-0 this season after a 45-30 victory over Wichita Falls Saturday night. Now the Danger heads to Texas to face that same Wichita Falls team this weekend.
Whatever happens Saturday, the long-range goal for Farquharson and the Danger will remain the same.
“There’s only one goal, and that’s pretty much to win a championship,” Farquharson said. “I hold all the records for receiving yards and touchdowns and receptions. I pretty much know most of the fans. There is only one thing I’m missing is a banner on the roof and a trophy with my name on it so I can always come back here and say I brought the first championship to Grand Island.”
And this year, it just might happen.