By Casey Bannon
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Just like Max Rich's college education, making the New England Patriots final roster will come down to a numbers game.
The recent Harvard economics graduate participated in his first official training camp with the world champions on Thursday and Friday, after being signed as an undrafted free agent on May 5th.
"I've done alright," Rich said of his first two days at camp. "It's a lot of hard work, a lot of great guys out here. Everyone's trying to prove themselves. Some good, some bad, but that's always going to happen."
Sporting a white No. 72 jersey, Rich showed his versatility as he rotated back and forth between left tackle and left guard with the Patriots second and third offensive units.
"The goal is to be the best player I can possibly be," he said of his mindset entering camp. "Hopefully I put myself in a position to make this team but it's just been two days so far and we haven't been in pads yet so there's still a lot of work to be done."
Because Thursday and Friday's practices were designated as non-contact, Rich spent most of the time working on footwork, agility and technique with the rest of the offensive line unit
Offensive line coach Dante Scharneccia, who is beginning his 47th season as a coach, spent some extra time with Rich on Thursday as the team went through their goal line packages.
"It's been great, he's a great coach obviously and he knows what he's doing", Rich said on his work with Scarnecchia so far. "He's been around for a long time and he's just a great guy."
Rich appeared in 21 career games at Harvard and was selected to the All-Ivy League first team and AP All-America FCS third team as a senior.
All in all, there were 10 Harvard alumni on training camp rosters around the NFL in 2016 and now an FCS-high 13 in 2017. Rich joins a lengthy list of former Crimson lineman to play for the Patriots, which includes the likes of Jamil Soriano, Jack Fadule and Tyler Ott.
"Football is different than school", he said. "I think it helps coming from Harvard but at the same time everyone has to learn it. Doesn't matter where you come from."
Rich joins Patriots fullback James Devlin (Brown University) as the only Ivy Leaguers on the current New England roster.
The Patriots opened camp with 12 offensive linemen on their 90-man roster, which will be trimmed to 53 by the end of camp in August; Pretty easy math for an economics major to do.
"You don't focus on that," he said. "You just focus on doing your job."
Spoken like a true Patriot.