While most of his Carolina Panthers teammates were in offseason training in Charlotte, Tyler Gaffney was at school studying for his last few classes.
Because Stanford is on the quarter system and final exams began June 6, Gaffney, the Panthers’ 2014 sixth-round pick, was the last rookie to report. He missed eight of the 10 organized team activities.
But the 6-foot, 226-pound running back wasn’t just studying for school over the past month. Gaffney was given the Panthers’ playbook in mid-May. He said it is the same type of offense they run at Stanford, just with different lingo.
“They gave me the playbook, and I crushed it,” said Gaffney, who chose to report to OTAs instead of walking with his graduating class. “I have some questions here and there, but it’s much easier to learn, as I found out (Wednesday) in the meeting room.”
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Gaffney had sign language and media psychology finals at 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and didn’t get into Charlotte until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. With OTAs at 11 a.m., he wasn’t left much time to sleep between the end of school and his first professional practice.
“You know… no one’s counting.” Gaffney said Wednesday after practice about how much sleep he got. “Not too much.”
Gaffney also missed the Panthers’ annual “Monday Knight Football” event this week, where Panthers players take batting practice before a Charlotte Knights baseball game.
Gaffney played baseball at Stanford and played one season for a Pirates minor league affiliate. He hit eight home runs in his three seasons at Stanford; Monday’s home run champ, J.J. Jansen, the Panthers’ long snapper, hit seven in batting practice.
“I don’t know how many they threw,” Gaffney said, “but I’d like to say I could hit more than the long snapper.”