SPARTANBURG, S.C. – When players enter a contract year, they often answer questions the same way.
“It’s out of my control,” or, “it’s not something I’m worried about.”
Wide receiver Devin Funchess went down that road after reporting for training camp Wednesday. His rookie contract is set to expire following the 2018 season.
“I’m focused on strictly football,” Funchess said of a possible extension. “I don’t worry about that. If they want to (offer an extension), they can.”
It’s easy to brush those comments aside as nothing more than a polite, not-entirely-truthful response.
But with Funchess, it’s genuinely how he feels.
When the 24-year-old was driving down Interstate 85 on his way to Spartanburg, he encountered a major accident that clearly shook him up.
“I’m just blessed to be here,” Funchess said. “There was an accident on the freeway. Literally a standstill. I parked my car, got out and I didn’t know what was going on. Two cars flipped over.
“I hope the people are alright.”
Funchess is someone who strives to live in the moment. The wreck was a jarring reminder not to take anything for granted.
Not that Funchess, who overcame a difficult upbringing in Detroit, needs any reminders.
“There are people dead that I grew up with, there’s people that took the wrong path,” Funchess said. “It’s a blessing just for me to be here. If (a new contract) comes, it comes. That stuff don’t matter to me.”
What matters to Funchess is producing his best season to date. He’s coming off a year in which he had 63 catches for 840 yards and eight touchdowns – all career bests.
And he’s confident in his approach entering a critical year individually.
“My background, my story just to get here is what humbles me,” Funchess said. “I’m trying to be the best me – don’t try to be nobody else.”