Devin Funchess had one of the best games of his career Monday night after promising the mother of a fallen soldier he’d score a touchdown for her son.
Funchess had five catches for 92 yards with two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 45-14 win over the Dolphins Monday night. Prior to the game, Funchess promised Tina Palmer, the mother of fallen hero Sgt. Dillion Baldridge, he’d find the end zone in honor of her son’s memory.
When Funchess scored the first touchdown, he turned to quarterback Cam Newton and pointed to his helmet. He then turned towards the crowd and raised his hand to his head and gave a salute to the crowd.
The Panthers wide receiver pointed to his helmet because he had the initials “D.B.” on it for Baldridge, according to The News & Observer. Monday’s game was also the Panthers’ “Salute to Service” game.
Baldridge was one of three soldiers who were killed in an attack in Afghanistan in June. Funchess met with the family Sunday when families of fallen soldiers visited the team facility.
“I’m two months older than [BALDRIDGE],” Funchess said in his postgame interview with the Observer. “He was a top-notch shooter – he was a sniper. His mom said he was the most joyful boy you’d ever meet. It was an honor meeting her. Just five months ago, he passed away. It was just an honor just to get in the end zone for her.”
The Panthers official Twitter account shared a photo of Funchess hugging Palmer and giving her an autographed football Wednesday.
Funchess posted a photo of him saluting the crowd on his Instagram page following Monday’s game.
“Why we really play the game ! Promised Tina Palmer Sunday I was going to get in the endzone for my fallen soldier SGT Dillon Baldridge (her son) its more than a game! A moment she will remember for a lifetime,” Funchess wrote.
Devin Funchess has quickly become the team’s No. 1 wide receiver after the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin at the trade deadline.
The 23-year-old has quickly become the team’s No. 1 wide receiver after the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin at the trade deadline.
Funchess has 43 catches so far this year for 535 yards and five touchdowns. Carolina is also 7-3 and appears to be a playoff contender this year after missing the postseason in 2016.