CHARLOTTE – Mike Remmers had every right to feel a sense of accomplishment Sunday at Minnesota.
The former Oregon State walk-on and undrafted rookie free agent started the first game of his career at right tackle against the Vikings.
"It's a big accomplishment," Remmers said. "I'm really happy about it. We lost the game, but I was really happy to have the opportunity to go out there and play."
As a former walk-on, Remmers has gotten used to making the most of limited opportunities. He waited his turn and eventually earned a scholarship prior to his redshirt sophomore season. He finished his college career with 50 games played and 44 starts.
His persistence has again been tested in the NFL.
Remmers signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012 and spent most of the season on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. In 2013, he played in his first career game for the San Diego Chargers. Later in the year, he was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Vikings.
After attending training camp with the Vikings this summer, Remmers was cut and wound up on the St. Louis Rams' practice squad. Carolina signed him to the active roster on October 28.
"It's been an absolutely crazy ride," Remmers said. "But I wouldn't change anything and I'm really happy with how it worked out."
Head coach Ron Rivera was pleased with Remmers' debut. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder didn't allow a sack and helped Carolina record a season-high 178 rushing yards against Minnesota.
"He played to his strengths," Rivera said. "He's got good footwork, good hand placement and he moves well. He's a smart, crafty guy. He understands what we're doing. He did some good things. We did some things to help him as well, and as a whole I thought the unit did a nice job."
Remmers wants to refine his technique and eliminate mistakes – he was penalized for a false start versus the Vikings. But his confidence was understandably boosted after a solid debut.
"I always believe in myself, and that's the biggest thing, just being confident and going out there knowing that you belong out there," Remmers said. "I knew I was going to do great."
He's earned a nickname from quarterback Cam Newton – "pork chop" thanks to the mutton chops he sported in college – and he's earned another start Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
"I'm happy with my performance, but I can always do better," Remmers said. "I'm hoping this week that we'll do better and get the 'W.'"