Farley returns an interception during his junior season

Former Nebraska linebacker Terrell Farley thinks about his football career every day.

Though he didn’t start the first six games of the 1995 season, the junior college transfer held team-high statistics in multiple categories. Farley recorded 62 tackles, two blocked punts, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. However, Farley being suspended for the first two games of the 1996 season and eventually dismissed from the team due to off-the-field issues.

Nebraska Football fans know Farley as the outstanding linebacker whose football career was cut short due to alcohol abuse. He could have been an NFL starter for a Super Bowl winning defense, or a guy living in a big city with a large contract to accompany him. That’s not who Terrell Farley is, but he’s proud of how far he’s come. 

Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, Farley’s college career began at Independence Junior College where he recorded 116 tackles, 12 sacks and 15 blocked kicks in 1994. Following the 1994 season, Farley drew scholarship offers to Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, and Nebraska. 

“Coach (Turner) Gill came down to Independence, Kansas and told me that they were interested in me,” Farley said. “Coach (Tom) Osborne called me a few days later, offered me a scholarship and it was history from there.”

However, in the days leading up to his second year with the Huskers, Farley was arrested on the suspicion of drunken driving. 

“It was just a lot of partying, just drinking, and bad stuff comes with drinking,” he said. 

At the time, Osborne suspended Farley for the first two games of the 1996 season. Nebraska lost 19-0 vs Arizona State in week two, which hindered them from reaching the title game at the end of the season.

More bad news followed for Farley and the Huskers.

“Ended up getting another DUI,” Farley said. 

That 1996 season is one that Farley regrets because that team was prepared to do something no other school has been able to do – win three straight national titles. 

“Thinking back, it was rough.” Farley said. “I feel like I let my teammates down. We didn’t get to accomplish what we wanted to because of me.”

The All-American linebacker, with Osborne by his side, made the difficult decision to step away from the game. 

“At that point, I withdrew from school.” Farley said. “I went to rehab in Topeka, Kansas, and I stayed there for 35 days.” 

Osborne didn’t think twice when it came to standing by his side. Through countless conversations and mentoring sessions, Farley was finally on the right path with better people to associate with.

“He was more supportive of me getting myself straightened out off the field rather than on the field,” Farley said. 

Years later, Farley is mature enough to realize that he did have an alcohol problem. According to the National Institute of Health, over 16 million people from the age of 18-25 suffer from alcohol abuse but less than 10% of that number actually receive treatment.

Farley abandoned Nebraska for 15 years but returned for the Nebraska vs Miami game in 2014. 

“I decided to move back to Lincoln.” Farley said. “I kind of fell off the map, but I needed to come back.”

The Huskers won that game against the Hurricanes 41-31, on the shoulders of running back Ameer Abdullah’s 229 yards and two-touchdown performance. For Farley, that night meant more than just another tally in the win column. 

“I got connected with Ricky Simmons and he’s really helped me.” Farley said. “He’s been a big influence in my life for the last nine years.” 

Simmons, a former Husker wide receiver, had his share of off-the-field issues during his time on the field. 

These past nine years have been extremely fruitful for Farley. He’s the director for a successful cleaning business in Lincoln and now even finds himself reminiscing on the past for two hours every day on the radio. More importantly, Farley is eight years sober. 

Farley’s former Teammate, Aaron Davis, said Farley’s situation is one of the most inspiring he’s ever seen.

“Terrell was tenacious on the field. He was a difference maker,” Davis said. “It’s inspiring. He took a bad situation, came to himself, and said ‘I’m done.’ I think he’s attacked his sobriety the same way he did football; day by day.”

Farley keeps tabs on the Nebraska Football program but tries to stay out of the way. Being from Georgia he enjoys watching the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, too. 

“Just trying to lay low, man.” Farley said. “Just trying to take care of myself and surround myself with good people.” 

For the common Husker fan who watched those teams in the 90s, it’s likely disappointing that Farley didn’t play as big of a role in the 1996 season as originally thought. It’s likely frustrating that Nebraska, which rattled off a dominant season each year, wasn’t able to capture that elusive, third straight national title. But sometimes, there are more important things than football. 

“He was an unbelievable football player, a great teammate, and a great person despite all the other stuff.” said Jay Foreman, a former teammate of Farley. “One thing about Farley is he’s always going to be your friend. His personality fit in with us. He put confidence in me.

In a world with NIL contracts and crazy fans, people forget that players are 18–23-year-old college students, and the world’s temptations don’t become less tempting simply because they put on a jersey and suit up on Saturdays. Farley is the perfect example of that, too. 

If one thing is for sure, Farley has faced lots of adversity in his time and he hasn’t always made the best decisions. But he now finds himself on a straight and narrow path, one that he’s proud of. 

“This is a really big thing for me,” Farley said. “I know people care, I’m very happy with myself.” 

Hi, I am Nick Sehnert and I am a senior Sports Media and Communication student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I work full-time at a 93.7 The Ticket FM, a local sports talk radio station, as an on-air host and producer.