CHARLOTTE - Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess did not hand the ball to quarterback Cam Newton for his typical post-touchdown ball giveaway on Monday night.
Instead, after catching and running for his first of two scores in Carolina's 45-21 win over Miami, Funchess kept the ball, looked at Newton, and pointed to the sticker on the back of his helmet.
It displayed the initials "D.B."
"Dillon Baldridge," Funchess said after the game.
Each Panther played for a fallen serviceman during the game, meeting their family members over the weekend, and hearing their story.
Funchess' serviceman was Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, a 22-year-old North Carolina native who was killed in action on June 10 in Afghanistan.
"I'm two months older than him," Funchess said. "Twenty days before his birthday."
Funchess said the meeting with Baldridge's mother, Tina Palmer, over the weekend helped him learn more about the soldier.
"He was a top-notch shooter, he was a sniper." Funchess said. “His mom said he was the most joyful boy you’d ever meet.”
On a joyful night at Bank of America Stadium, Funchess made sure that joy got spread to Baldridge's family, especially his mother.
"It was an honor just to get in the end zone for her."
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