Inside the Panthers

Underdog Kaelin Clay on the play that made him viral, and the redemption tour

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kaelin Clay (83) returns a punt as Houston Texans long snapper Jon Weeks (46) closes in during the first half in their preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. The Panthers led 17-10 at halftime.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kaelin Clay (83) returns a punt as Houston Texans long snapper Jon Weeks (46) closes in during the first half in their preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. The Panthers led 17-10 at halftime. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers receiver Kaelin Clay is not a hugely well-known name in the league, but in college, he went viral for the wrong reason.

While at Utah in 2014, a breakaway 78-yard touchdown by Clay could have put the Utes up 14-0 over powerhouse Oregon. But he dropped the ball on the 1, just before trotting into the end zone, and Oregon returned it for a 99-yard score and a congruent walloping.

The mistake overshadowed much of Clay’s prodigious talent as a receiver and All-American return specialist. He was drafted by the Buccaneers in 2015 and couldn’t make the practice squad, and then was picked up by the Ravens before fracturing his foot and finishing the year on injured reserve.

Now, the lightning-fast wideout hopes to get a shot in Carolina – but his road is a tough one.

On this week’s episode of “Three and Out,” Clay shares his refreshing, honest perspective on what it’s like to be a long shot trying to make an NFL team, his thoughts on “the play” and his “why.”

And, I break down Carolina’s 27-17 victory against Houston in the first week of the preseason alongside Joe Person.

As always, listen here or subscribe on iTunes – don’t forget to leave a review!

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071, @jourdanrodrigue

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