Jake Fromm decided to forgo his senior season at Georgia and enter the NFL Draft with hopes of earning a starting job. Instead, the Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback is assuming a new, unique role: quarantine quarterback.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t spared any sector of society, including professional athletes, and teams have to adjust in unique ways. One of those is to keep a quarterback isolated from the team in case the starter and backups need to be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
It’s certainly been a difficult way to spend his rookie season, but Fromm, a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, told reporters last week that he’s relied on his faith in God to endure it.
“That’s tough. It has been a long season,” Fromm told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You’re kind of distanced from everybody else. And you’re away from home. And when we’re out of the building we’re supposed to go home and sit inside and wait until the next day to come back to football. It’s tough building relationships and not being with people, that’s kind of what I miss. For me, I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer and the [Bible] — the one thing keeping me sane is my faith.”
Let’s Goooo Bills!!!! God is Good!!! #BillsMafia
— JakefromStateFromm (@FrommJake) January 17, 2021
As the Bills became a likely candidate to make a deep playoff run, Fromm’s new role quickly became a necessary evil after the football world saw what happened with the Denver Broncos. All three active roster quarterbacks were ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols before a game against the New Orleans Saints, and Denver was forced to start Kendall Hinton, a practice squad wide receiver who played sparingly at quarterback in college.
The Bills are now one win away from the Super Bowl as they head to Kansas City to face the defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs on Sunday. While playing on a team competing for a championship is familiar territory for Fromm — he won an SEC championship and played in one national championship game at Georgia — serving as a backup is not.
He weighed returning to Georgia, where he potentially could’ve played for another SEC championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Instead, he’s in a role that would mean bad news for the Bills if he had to be used.
Still, he’s received much praise from teammates and head coach Sean McDermott.
“It wasn’t easy because not only did we separate a player from the team, but he’s also a rookie,” McDermott told ESPN.com. “And it’s hard enough to acclimate oneself and transition from college to the NFL game, and now to kind of be apart has made it all that much harder (for Fromm).”
What does a typical day look like for Fromm is this new role?
“It starts off pretty normal, just like everybody else,” he told the AJC. “Show up to work, get here, have meetings. I’m in the meetings, but a little bit farther away than everybody else.
“During walk-throughs I’m a little bit farther away there, too. When everybody else goes to practice, I go to the weight room and I work out. Come out about halfway through practice, once again a little bit farther away than everybody else. I watch the team periods of practice and stay after and throw with a couple guys and throw with my buddy Ryan (Moore, a Bills office worker). He’s out here trying to make me better.”
Even during games, he has to keep his distance. He can’t celebrate with his teammates on big plays aside from maybe a quick high-five. He has to get his practice workouts in largely on his own away from the team. Socially, he’s highly encouraged to be at home when he’s not at the practice facility. He hasn’t seen his family since last summer.
— JakefromStateFromm (@FrommJake) October 1, 2020
Still, Fromm told the AJC that he had no regrets entering the draft, even if his new role is far less glamorous than he’s used to. When he declared for the draft, he said he felt it was “God’s will” for him to enter.
“Through much prayer and counsel, I have decided that it is time for me to take on the next challenge in my life and pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL,” Fromm wrote in a tweet. “It is with both a humbled and excited heart that I announce this, and I can assure you that this decision was not based on anything other than what I strongly believe is God’s will for my life.”
McDermott wasn’t the only one to notice how well Fromm has taken his new role, even if he’d rather be the one playing. Starting quarterback Josh Allen told ESPN he still sees Fromm taking pride in his role and is a pleasure to be around.
It’s consistent with the same Jake Fromm the football world got to know while he was at Georgia.
“I want to represent Christ the best I can,” Fromm said following his team’s Sugar Bowl win last season. “I hope I can reach and influence as many people as possible.”
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