If the reality of playing in the NFL hadn't already sunk in for the Panthers rookies, Friday night's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills took care of that.
Suiting up and taking the game field for the first time is a big moment, and several rookies discussed their individual debuts after the 25-24 victory over Buffalo.
WR Devin Funchess
Stats vs. Buffalo: 2 catches on 4 targets for 53 yards
"It was good. I was itching to get out there. I had to wait until the second quarter to get out there and the first ball got away from me. I was mad about that one. But I caught the second dig and I was good from there. Should have caught the touchdown (on jump ball in the end zone), so the overall performance wasn't too great in my eyes. I have to come back, work hard and do better. It's always about getting better."
LB David Mayo
Stats vs. Buffalo: 2 tackles, 1 assist on special teams
"There were some good things and some bad, but I'm excited to look at the film. There's a lot of film study to do. I just tried to focus on executing the defense and playing with phenomenal effort. Once I started playing I just kind of fell into the rhythm. It was like, 'This is football. I know how to play.'"
RB Cameron Artis-Payne
Stats vs. Buffalo: 8 carries for 24 yards, 2 catches for 2 yards
"I felt good. I'm eager to get to the game film and see how everything went down. But I felt comfortable. I'm just looking forward to getting better next week."
RB Brandon Wegher
Stats vs. Buffalo: 4 carries for 15 yards, 1 catch for 42-yard TD, 1 special teams tackle
"It was a dream come true. Being able to step onto an NFL field is something I've looked forward to since I was a little kid. I was just trying to make the most out of my opportunities."
WR Damiere Byrd
Stats vs. Buffalo: 3 catches on 5 targets for 22 yards, 2 punt returns for 8 yards
"It was a good first experience. I was able to get in there and play a good bit on offense and get back there and return some punts. I was comfortable with the punts and on offense me and (quarterback) Joe (Webb) were able to get into a little rhythm."