Every year, fans fall in and out of love with certain players. We always have favorites who didn’t make the team or who we believe, given a real opportunity, could contribute positively to the team. Coincidentally, we nourish these affections as we fall out of love with guys who are approaching the twilight of their career or who we believe never fully capitalizes on their potential. I’m one of these fans.
We’re the fans who mutter Lee Ward’s name when Mike Tolbert whiffs on a block. We moan about Brenton Bersin’s never-ending tenure as a Panther. If the coaching staff would just give CAP a hat or Brandon Wegher a shot, they’d see these guys can play, we argue. Most of the time our cries are just psychological outlets to vent frustration over the team’s lack of success. Sunday, however, our Not-So Secret Dark-Horse Society will have a chance to see one of our favorite dark horses finally race…and boy is he a fast one!
So Ron Rivera kind of let the cat out of the bag on Devin Funchess going to IR. Former Gamecock WR Damiere Byrd expected to be activated.— Joe Person (@josephperson) December 29, 2016
Ron Rivera announced today that Damiere Byrd would be activated in replacement of Devin Funchess, who was moved to IR for the final game of the season.
Byrd, a speedster out of the University of South Carolina, has been a long-time favorite of our Not-So Secret Dark-Horse Society. After a tremendous preseason and training camp, we assumed that Byrd earned an opportunity to contribute this season. Whether it was as a punt returner to begin phasing aging Tedd Ginn, Jr. or in a limited capacity as a deep-thread receiver, we thought Byrd find the field at some point this season. Byrd was never activated for a game and, in October, Carolina released him. It wasn’t a shocking move, but it wasn’t a popular move with the NSSDHS either. Byrd’s name was once again muttered quietly every time Tedd Ginn, Jr. desperately sought the sideline returning kicks.
After 16 weeks, Damiere Byrd has finally migrated from the practice squad to the active roster. Sunday, Panther fans and the NSSDHS will be Byrd watching again. Tampa Bay does seem like a great place for a Byrd spotting this time of year!
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles