CHARLOTTE – Recently added tight end Temarrick Hemingway has a place picked out to live in Charlotte, but while construction is being completed, he’s living in an Airbnb.
Despite such a temporary arrangement, Hemingway feels at home.
“I love the East Coast, love it here, love Charlotte,” Hemingway said. “Growing up I always wanted to play close to home so my family could see me. It’s good to have all my support here.”
Hemingway, who grew up in the Myrtle Beach area, was claimed off waivers by the Panthers a few days before organized team activities began. With multiple tight ends mostly working on the side over the first half of OTAs, Hemingway has taken the opportunity for additional reps and ran with it, becoming a regular target in team drills.
“He’s got good size and good speed, and he runs great routes,” quarterback Taylor Heinicke said. “If he keeps getting better, he’s going to be a good player.”
Hemingway, a 6-foot-5, 245-pounder, is a work in progress to be sure. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Rams out of South Carolina State, where he caught 93 passes for 1,056 yards and seven touchdowns over four seasons. He appeared in eight games as a rookie, predominantly on special teams, and appeared to be competing for a rotational role in 2017 when a fractured fibula ended his season before it started.
Last year he bounced between practice squads for the Rams and Broncos before appearing in five games for Denver, which then waived him earlier this month.
“Even though I don’t have any catches, that’s a strength of mine,” said Hemingway, who has displayed that to the coaches so far at OTAs. “When you come in like I did, you want to make a mark with the coaches. I just came out every day to work and get better.”
The coaches probably have noticed Hemingway hanging around for a little extra field work after OTAs. At the conclusion of a session earlier this week, he stayed behind to work solo on his footwork in pass blocking.
That was considered an area in need of improvement by NFL scouts entering the 2016 draft, but Hemingway is proud of his progress and now considers it among his strengths. He’ll need every edge he can get at a position that includes All-Pro Greg Olsen, Ian Thomas and Chris Manhertz.
“Every day after practice I work on something different, maybe something I was struggling with a little bit in practice – just 10, 20 minutes, trying to make sure I get it perfect,” Hemingway said. “Something I needed to tune up was blocking, and I’m a really good blocker now. And of course I can catch the ball.”
View photos from Thursday's practice during the second week of organized team activities.