CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former University of South Carolina wide receiver Damiere Byrd’s NFL debut came a little later than expected.
Byrd was promoted to the http://www.armacan.com/captain-munnerlyn-jersey-c-1_35.html
Carolina Panthers’ active roster after nearly two seasons on the practice squad when wide receiver Devin Funchess was placed on injured reserve at the end of last season. He finally made his NFL debut in the Panthers’ 2016 season finale against Tampa Bay, catching one pass for 16 yards and a returning a kickoff for 31 yards.
“That’s always a big milestone for anybody. It was a good experience to be able to be out there for that last game and be able to carry that experience over,” Byrd said following Tuesday’s mini-camp practice.
Head coach Ron Rivera saw potential in Byrd in his debut, and praised his speed and knowledge.
“With that kind of speed, if he can hit a seam at the right time he can make a big play,” said Rivera. “Damiere’s also a very smart football player. The young man knows pretty much all the receiver positions, so he’s a guy that’s earned the opportunity to be around here and compete for a job.”
Despite the fact that Byrd is only going into http://www.cinemakolik.com/captain-munnerlyn-jersey-c-1_35.html
his third season in the NFL, he is one of the older wide receivers on the Panthers’ relatively young offensive corps. But Byrd has still found mentors in fellow receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Brenton Bersin.
“It’s kind of weird. In our room the oldest players are Kelvin and Brenton Bersin,” said Byrd. “Kelvin’s all but a year ahead of us, so it’s not really as much ‘older guys,’ but guys that have played already that really kind of guide us in.”
Byrd is looking to capitalize on the opportunity to play for a team that isn’t too far from where he spent his college days.
“There’s a lot of Gamecock fans in Charlotte. A lot of familiar faces that I know, so it’s always a big deal to be able to play around them, ” he said.
Byrd not only faces new competition given the team’s recent signings, but also is coming off of offseason surgery on a torn lateral Ryan Kalil Youth Jersey
meniscus in his left knee.
But the former USC track and field athlete said the surgery hasn’t slowed him down one bit. He said he’s lucky to have had the surgery so early in the offseason, which gives him ample time to recover before the start of training camp in July.
“I’m really using these OTA’s to get my stride back,” said Byrd.
Byrd held the title of being the fastest player on the USC football team during his senior year. But his experience as a track athlete doesn’t always work in his favor. Like many guys with similar backgrounds trying to make it in the NFL, he is still trying to prove that he is more than just a “speed guy.”
“It’s always been that way for me growing up,” he said.
But that’s not the only chip on his shoulder. Byrd went undrafted, and is only 5-feet, 9-inches tall. He said he’s got a lot to prove, and is ready to prove it.
Byrd said that he is willing to take on Greg Olsen Youth Jersey
any role to make the Panthers’ 53-man roster, whether it’s on offense or special teams.
“Whatever I have to do, I’m going to do it,” he said.