Canfield’s Ross part of the Patriot Way

Ross in his second stint as a pro scout

By Brian Dzenis

Frank Ross is immersed in the Patriot Way, but still can’t help but be impressed with the sustained success of his employer, the New England Patriots.

Ross, a pro scout with the team, is making his third Super Bowl trip on Sunday. The Patriots are making their third trip in four years.

“On any scale, it’s remarkable. Even for somebody who got here when the Patriots train was already rolling. The established success is maintained when the focus is day-to-day,” Ross said. “Just because the Super Bowl is going on, doesn’t mean the scouting department is not chugging along on it’s own. Coach [Bill Belichick] and his staff don’t let anything get between them and the short term goal and that completes the long-term vision.”

The Canfield and John Carroll graduate is in his second stint with the Patriots’ scouting department after rejoining the team last year. He spent the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons with the team before taking a job as the quarterbacks coach at John Carroll.

Hearing Ross talk about the Super Bowl makes it sound like a part-reward and part-respite from the scouting grind. Ross and some of his scouting colleagues arrived in Minneapolis four days later than the team on Thursday. Even as the NFL’s marquee game approaches, Ross remains hard at work helping with the team’s preparation for the NFL’s free agency period, which opens March 14.

He isn’t taking any credit for individual transactions the team has made, such as the team signing former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison in late December. The reason are two-fold: Belichick has the final word on such matters and the process of evaluating and acquiring players isn’t so simple in New England.

“I don’t think I’ll take credit for anything and I don’t think anyone here would. It’s always a group effort,” Ross said. “When somebody drafts a quarterback at No. 1 overall, it isn’t just a coach making a pick. A lot of man hours went into that.

“Just because I wrote about and evaluated a a guy like James Harrison, for example, doesn’t mean they signed him because of me.”

The Super Bowl is also a fun trip. Ross and his fellow scouts get their own seating area for the game and Canfield will be well-represented in that area.

“I’m bringing my wife, my mom and dad, my sister and her husband and my best friend and his wife,” Ross said. “We’re all going to go out there and hopefully we’ll experience a win.”

Ross earned a Super Bowl ring last year after the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons, 34-28. He wore it for the ring ceremony and the team’s trip to the White House before bringing it to his hometown to give to his father. The Ross family has also embraced the Patriot Way.

“He goes, ‘Man, can you let me keep this for a while so I can show my friends around town?’ He’s a proud guy and he should be,” Ross said. “He’s excited, but he’s embraced the organizational mantra of not really looking ahead to the bigger project instead of what’s in front of him. The long-term goals only come through short-term successes.”

Ross is not the only Mahoning Valley connection to the Patriots. Former Youngstown State defensive end Derek Rivers was the team’s highest draft pick — No. 83 overall — coming into this season, but tore his ACL in training camp and did not play all season.

Patriots officials declined to make Rivers available for comment, citing his status on injured reserve and not on the active roster.

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