Kris Farris - UCLA


Into the limelight

Posted: Wednesday February 17, 1999 05:16 PM

This is the 2nd in a series of weekly diaries from some of the top prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. Look for another entry each day, with a new entry from UCLA tackle Kris Farris every Thursday at CNNSI.com.

Coming out as a junior brings a little extra pressure to entering the NFL Draft. Teams know less about you, so there are more questions to answer, more things to prove. If anything goes wrong, people will say I should have stayed in school -- that I made a bad decision. Because of this, everything has to be perfect.

For me, the first step in the right direction came in choosing an agent. Underclassmen naturally have less exposure than seniors, so finding a high-profile agent isn't a bad idea, and no agent is in the limelight more than Leigh Steinberg.

When I first met him, I was expecting a guy in an expensive suit behind a big desk. The other agents tried to tell me he was withdrawn from his clients, not personable at all, too big to get to know his clients. I've found that to be completely untrue.

Our relationship has progressed light years in the short time since I signed on with Steinberg. One thing we have in common is that we both love movies. He took all his clients to the Super Bowl last month, and while we were down there, we went to the set of Oliver Stone's new football movie, "On Any Given Sunday." I didn't get to meet Al Pacino or Cameron Diaz, but saw enough stars to walk away impressed.

I had never been to an NFL game until the day after I signed with Steinberg. He took me to the Packers-Niners playoff game and introduced me to Steve Young. That's what being with Steinberg has given me -- it's put me into a peer group that's accustomed to success. If I were with anyone else, I wouldn't be hanging out in Miami with Drew Bledsoe and Troy Aikman -- the real power players of the league. You can learn a lot just from watching them and how they conduct themselves.

What they've taught me more than anything is to relax and be myself. Teams are going to figure out who I am, so why pretend to be something I'm not?

I'm excited about the NFL combines this weekend -- nervous, too, but a healthy kind of nervous. I've been preparing hard, working especially on my footwork. That's been one of the question marks people have had about me, and I want to dispell those doubts this weekend. If there's one thing I've learned about the NFL so far, it's that it's a job and something you have to work hard at if you want to do well.

Outland Trophy winner Kris Farris is expected to be one of the top linemen taken in the 1999 NFL Draft in April. Check back each Thursday for another draft diary from him at CNNSI.com.