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Carolina Panthers

Tryouts give their all, hope for another chance


CHARLOTTE -- Charlotte native and former Duke tight end Braxton Deaver put everything he had into Carolina's two-day rookie minicamp.

He opted against attending a camp for another team a week earlier so he focus all his energy on the opportunity his hometown team provided.

"This is it for me," Deaver said. "I knew that if I was going to give my NFL shot a real go, it was going to be with the energy and the love for this team."

Deaver made the most of the opportunity, and head coach Ron Rivera said he'll be in consideration for one of the few remaining roster spots. If he doesn't earn one, it won't be for lack of effort.

"If I wasn't on this field, I was in my playbook. You can't play fast and you can't play well if you don't know what you're doing," Deaver said. "I thought I hustled well, thought I blocked well, caught every ball, and I competed my butt off. I don't know what else I could have done.

"I couldn't have been happier with my performance."

And he couldn't have asked for a better tryout experience.

"I would just kind of look over the skyline and be like, 'Man, I couldn't be happier to be here in my home city to play for the Panthers.' I think it gave me a little bit of an edge, to be honest. I'm very, very happy here."

MARTIN HOPING TO STICK: For the Panthers' drafted and undrafted rookies, this weekend marked their first pro minicamp.

For Chris Martin, the minicamp was one of many camps.

"This is my third year in the league, and I've played for several teams now. I've been through several camps," Martin said. "I've been all over the country. You want to stay in one place, but you can't get frustrated because first and foremost this is a business. The league and the teams are going to do what's best for business, and you have to understand it."

Martin, an offensive lineman, went undrafted out of Central Florida in 2014 but has already been on five different practice squads. He's already had two stints with the Texans – the team that originally signed him – the Patriots and the Dolphins.

Could Carolina become his sixth stop?

"It would be a blessing," Martin said. "It would only encourage me to work harder than I am now.

"That's what I want. I want to be on a team, and this team especially, I'd love to be a part of it."

View photos of 2016 rookies as they participate in drills on the second day of minicamp.

Staff writer Max Henson and senior writer Bryan Strickland contributed to this report.

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