CHARLOTTE - Queen City kid, grows up, plays for the Panthers.

Dream scenario, right?

It hasn't been quite that fairy tale for wide receiver Austin Duke.

"That was probably one of the toughest things I've had during my life," he told reporters Thursday, after he was added to Carolina's practice squad.

Duke, a stand out for the Charlotte 49ers and for Independence High School, was impressive as an undrafted rookie in training camp. But not impressive enough to make the 53-man roster, or the initial practice squad.

"It can get real quick," Duke said. "You could be sitting on that couch tomorrow."

That's not what Duke did, though.

"I was ready," he said. "I was sitting at home staying ready and staying in shape."

In fact when he got the phone call from his agent, he was driving to UNCC to work out.

"I was like, man, thank God," Duke said.

He drove to the workout anyway.

The call told him all he needed to know.

"That I'm able to play this game," he said. "I'm ready to play at a high level. I was able to look back and reflect on my weaknesses. It's definitely a challenge I look forward to attacking."