Carolina Panthers

Injuries make opportunity for Panthers RB Darrin Reaves

With injuries to DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert, Darrin Reaves sees an opportunity.

“I’m starting to be able to live the dreams out,” Reaves said. “It’s a good feeling. Not with the circumstances that we have, we have a few guys dinged up, but it’s still a good feeling.”

Reaves, an undrafted rookie from Alabama-Birmingham, rushed 10 times for 26 yards in the 38-10 loss to Baltimore. Heookie out of Alabama-Birmingham, started just 13 collegiate games. He led the Blazers in rushing in consecutive seasons before entering the draft a year early.

He said Monday he was disappointed not to be drafted. But he had a good relationship with Panthers scout Jeff Morrow, and when Carolina was one of nearly a half-dozen teams that called him after the draft, he chose Charlotte as his next home.

“He’s very conscientious, he’s got really good effort,” Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “For a smaller guy he’s pretty thick, and he’s not afraid to hit you. And he’s got a little elusiveness for a guy that’s kind of thick. He shows signs of a lot of good things. His experience will help him play a little faster.”

Reaves injured his knee in the preseason but said Monday it’s 100 percent now. Rivera said he was impressed with Reaves’ pass protection, and he had just one mental error in his 43 snaps. Both Rivera and Shula said the game plan for Chicago wouldn’t change because of the personnel in the backfield.

Reaves only mustered 2.6 yards per carry, and he said Monday he was as sore as he had been since college. But he was able to get three points in fantasy football for his friends and family back home in Alabama who picked him up last week.

“One guy said, he was like, I don’t know how true it is, but he said my dude had more points than (Lions receiver Calvin Johnson),” Reaves said.

It’s true. Johnson, battling injury, had only one fantasy football point.