Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess has been considering trying his hand at basketball career as he evaluates his options in the NFL. Funchess, a former second-round pick by the Panthers and a member of their Super Bowl 50 team in 2015, has not played a down of NFL football since 2019.
In an interview with Bally Sports, Funchess shared that his agent has spoken to three NFL teams about potentially playing, but his prospects are "up and down" because he is a 6-foot-4, 235-pound wide receiver who does not play special teams and has been out of football. With that considered, the 28-year old Funchess has openly entertained a switch to basketball, which he played growing up before pursuing a football career.
"When it comes to my love and my passion, I love the game of basketball," Funchess said. "As in my transition from dwindling down in the NFL, being an eight-year vet -- I'm still 28 years old. I can still go through something. I know I'd have to go overseas and play, get some film.
"But after that, my dream growing up was to play in the NBA. That's my main goal and that's what I'm gonna make happen."
Funchess had an up and down four-year career with the Panthers, which included a trip to the Super Bowl in his rookie year and highlighted by a 2017 season in which he emerged as the team's leading receiver. Funchess became a playmaker for and a favorite target of quarterback Cam Newton, catching 63 passes for 840 yards and eight touchdowns.
But after leaving the Panthers following the 2018 season, Funchess' NFL career has stalled out. Funchess has not played since Week 1 of the 2019 season, when he broke his collarbone in his first game as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. He then signed with the Green Bay Packers, but opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID and was released off of injured reserve before the start of the 2021 season.
Funchess attempted to resuscitate his career earlier this year with a switch to tight end with his hometown Detroit Lions. However, Funchess failed to make the team's 53-man roster.