Colts Rookie Q&A: Matt Farbotko

Former Harvard tight end Matt Farbotko is one of seven tight ends on the Colts roster this year. Find out why he qualifies as "one to watch" in this exclusive interview with's Ed Thompson. He's got some special attributes that could help him land a job with the World Champions this year.

Matt Farbotko could end up being one of those rare finds that Colts fans will point to in future years and wonder how Indianapolis was able to find him.

But don't just take my word for it,'s Pat Kirwan listed Farbotko as one of just six players from this year's draft out of the players who didn't get a Combine invite, didn't play in an all-star game and who didn't put up big numbers in college, but possesses at least one rare quality that makes him a good bet to succeed in the NFL.

"No one ever thought Eric Johnson was going to jump from Yale to a starter in San Francisco overnight, but he did. Farbotko deserves a closer look," Kirwan said after the Harvard graduate posted strong Pro Day numbers in three categories: 4.81 40-yard dash, 10-3 broad jump, and a 36½-inch vertical jump.

Farbotko's incredible athleticism and accomplishments in multiple sports, which was outlined in this feature article at ColtPower on July 18th, is a big draw for an Indianapolis team badly in need of some help on special teams. And Farbotko's size and skill set will draw some comparisons to current tight end Ben Utecht, who becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

Learn more about him below in this exclusive interview...

Ed Thompson:  When did you first realize the Colts were interested in you?

Mark Farbotko:  "We had a Pro Day at Harvard that included some players from other teams in the Boston area who were looking to get some exposure. One of the Colts' scouts came to that, and that was when I was first introduced to the them. I performed well in all the categories and I think that's what helped me. Afterwards, I took the Wonderlic test for the Colts, which made me curious as to what they were thinking about. The following week, Boston College held a Pro Day, and one of the Colts scouts was there as well, so I reintroduced myself to keep my name out there in front of them."

ET:  Going into draft weekend, were there other teams showing interest in you?

MF:  Not really, but in talking to my agent, Brad Blank, he said that's sometimes how these things work. Going into draft weekend, I didn't really get my hopes up about getting drafted because as I headed into this process I went in figuring if anything was going to happen, it'd be as a free agent. After the draft ended, the Colts contacted me and wanted to give me a shot, and I greatly appreciated that. 

ET:  And they didn't make it easy on you. From what I understand that initial contact was that they wanted you to come out to Indianapolis so they could get to know you better and work you out before deciding to sign you to a free agent contract...

MF:  Right. They brought me out on a tryout basis to their rookie minicamp after draft weekend. So going out, I had this mentality that this was basically all or nothing. It was going to be my chance to show everybody that I can do it and earn some respect from them in the sense of getting them to offer me a contract. Fortunately for me, I did something they liked and they offered me a one-year deal so I could come back and try to make the team. 

Photo: David Silverman/
ET:  They obviously liked what they saw because they didn't let you leave town without having your name on a contract. What feedback did you get from them after they saw you work out? What do you think put you over the top?

MF:  I think they were mainly concerned about the fact that I had only played one year at the position and I wasn't from one of these high-profile Division I schools. So I think they just wanted to see for themselves if I could run and catch and do what they asked. I just tried to do my best at anything they asked me to do, and I think that's why they offered me the contract.

ET:  Based on your height and weight, you're a close match to Ben Utecht. What have you learned so far about him in the short time you've been around him?

MF:  That's true. Just being around him for these workouts, we seem very similar. Everyone on the team is really nice and real receptive. Dallas (Clark), Ben, and (Bryan) Fletcher are very open to helping out. Even though we're all competing for a job, no one's out here to get you. Everyone wants you to do well, and if you do something well in practice, they'll be the first ones there to congratulate you. It makes me feel good.  Coming in from the east coast to Indiana, it's different, it's a change. Knowing that everyone out here is supportive and wants to help is a good feeling. Just like in college, once you're on the team, even though you're a freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors still treat you like you're on the team. 

ET: Where do you think you add the most value as a special teams player, a key role for rookies and an area where the Colts really need some help?

MF:  "I think for my size, I have very good speed and I'm pretty coordinated. I ran track and from doing some of the jumping events I feel I have good body control. I think I'm deceptively fast. I have a long stride, so I think that helps me. With my size and athletic ability, I think I can handle any position as long as I'm given the opportunity."

ET:  Who are some of the guys you've gravitated towards amongst the rookies?

MF:  The tight ends. There are three rookie tight ends here and we're pretty close. I've gotten to know some of the offensive linemen and defensive linemen, and one of the rookie running backs -- Clifton Dawson -- is also from Harvard. So it's nice to have another familiar face around, and we've been traveling out here together. We don't live together here in the hotel, but I see him all the time, we're always in contact. 

ET:  Tell us something about Clifton that will likely be a surprise to Colts fans the first time they see him out on the field during training camp...

MF:  I think they're going to be surprised by the speed he has. Blocking for him in college and watching game film afterwards, you see scenarios where you wonder how anyone would be able to make a play out of what happened on the line. He just finds his way to a hole and gets through it quickly with some power and then uses his breakaway speed running away from people. I think people will be surprised to see how well he moves, his quick decisions and how fast he can run. 

ET:  What do you appreciate most about him as a person?
He's a great teammate and friend. He's a real humble guy. All through college he was in the spotlight, starting as a freshman, breaking all these Ivy League records, but you'd never see him out there flaunting it. He was just a humble, reserved guy who handled all the attention in a professional way. It's great having him out here with me.

ET:  Looking back at your college career, what are you most proud of?

MF:  Just playing football at Harvard. To be able to succeed academically and succeed in football as well.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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