Deaver working on dream to play for hometown team

CHARLOTTE, NC (WCCB Charlotte) — It’s easy to root for Braxton Deaver.

Deaver, an undrafted tight-end out of Duke, is battling for a roster spot. What makes Deaver’s story endearing is that he’s only had one NFL love–the Carolina Panthers.

“Just stop for a second and look around you right now,” Deaver said. “Look at the stadium, you’re in Charlotte. You are home.”

Deaver graduated from Providence High. He recalls coming to Wofford College to see Panthers training camp and remembers Jake Delhomme’s glory years in which he led the Panthers to Super Bowl XXVIII.

Braxton’s love for the Panthers came from his dad, Jay. He insisted that Braxton and his three siblings become fans of the hometown team from inception. And Jay says Braxton’s love the sport stemmed from watching the Panthers on Sunday.

“The Carolina Panther thing was so far out of the realm of our dreams or his dreams,” Jay Deaver said about his son’s post-collegiate playing opportunities. “It’s almost like, I’m having a hard time believing it. You know, the whole term, surreal.”

Braxton is making sure to make every rep count during training camp with in Spartanburg. His college coach, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, instilled a hard-nosed work ethic in him.

“I understand I am a free agent. I understand my path is a little bit different than everyone else,” Deaver said. “If you want to be first to the drill, you have got to beat me there. I promise I am going to get there first.”

Braxton’s preseason performance will go a long way in determining if he makes the team. Tight ends Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson are locks to make the team while Scott Simonson has been having a stand-out camp thus far. It leaves a potential fourth tight end spot up to Deaver and seventh round pick Beau Sandland.

But for now, Deaver is living a dream and truly embracing the moment.

“I know I’m here. I know that I’m wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey and my name is on the back of it. There’s not a lot of words for it,” Deaver said.

“I’m truly just thankful to be here.”