Tom Sorensen

How does Panthers WR Brenton Bersin stay in the NFL? Guys like him have a label

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brenton Bersin, center, poses with teammates at training camp in Wofford. Every season, some fans expect the camp to be his last.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brenton Bersin, center, poses with teammates at training camp in Wofford. Every season, some fans expect the camp to be his last. TNS

Every season is going to be Carolina receiver Brenton Bersin’s NFL finale. Receivers arrive in the draft and from other teams. Some of the new receivers dazzle us with their hands and speed. And there’s Bersin.

Bersin, 27, seems to have come with Spartanburg. When the Panthers elected to hold training camp at Wofford, owner Jerry Richardson’s school, there was Bersin standing in the middle of the field.

Bersin is from Charlotte and played at Wofford. If (when) he makes the Panthers he’ll begin his fourth season with the team. In 2013, he tried out for and was cut by the Panthers, and in 2014 he made the practice squad. Last season he caught two passes for 17 yards. In three seasons he has caught 24 passes for 287 yards.

You see the newer, sleeker receiver models show up. They look like Porsches. And then, on the used car part of the lot, there’s an older model. He looks like a van.

But if Bersin were easily expendable he would have been gone years ago. I think of one training camp practice in which he ran crisp routes, made nice catches and always was in the right place for his quarterbacks to find. He was that day as good as anybody on the field.

Linebacker Thomas Davis saw the surprise on the faces of the media and laughed.

Davis said he wasn’t surprised. He said he sees Bersin work like that in practice all the time.

There are stars in the NFL. There also are survivors. I like Bersin. I bet he survives another season.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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