Children of Charlotte, please forgive Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess.
The rookie receiver caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in last week’s victory over the Arizona Cardinals but, breaking Panthers tradition, did not give the football to a young child on the front row.
That’s because he had promised his next touchdown football to his grandfather and couldn’t let him down.
“I have to keep the next one or else my granddaddy will have my head,” Funchess said during the playoff bye week after scoring a touchdown in the Week 17 victory over Tampa Bay. “He doesn’t like me giving them away. I’ll keep my other one; I’ve just got to remember.”
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Funchess’ grandfather, James Hester, called the rookie before the game and reminded him that if he scores, he wants the ball.
“He’s always been by my side when I was a bad little kid,” Funchess said Wednesday. “Elementary school, he’d come get me. He was always that guy to take me to practice, pick me up from practice. Same with my mom.”
Funchess kept his first touchdown ball and gave away the next four. He has the Arizona touchdown ball in a case waiting for his grandfather when he makes the trip to Charlotte after the season.