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MX News Update 2024

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Former Packers WR Devin Funchess signs a professional basketball deal

Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess is trying out another sport and signing a professional basketball contract.

The Carolina Panthers announced Funchess’ next home via their team website. The former NFL wide receiver will play for the Caribbean Storm Llaneros of the Professional Colombia Basketball League.

In the Panthers’ article, Funchess outlined how his return to basketball while away from the NFL helped him rediscover his love for the sport.

“So I was just (playing basketball) to kind of deal with something that I never had to deal with – being away with football… then it was like this was an outlet for me to deal with all the different possibilities,” Funchess said.

According to the Panthers, Funchess is the first NFL player to ever sign a professional basketball contract. He’ll try to keep playing as long as he can, and at 29 years old, he should still have plenty of time to keep that dream alive.


Devin Funchess’ NFL career

Funchess had an interesting path to the NFL. In fact, he wasn’t even a wide receiver originally.

Coming out of Michigan, Funchess was a four-star in high school. His offers included out-of-state schools such as Cincinnati and Nebraska, but he ultimately decided to play for the Wolverines.

It didn’t take long for Funchess to make an impact. He immediately saw action as a freshman, playing in all 13 games. He left Ann Arbor with two second-team All-Big Ten selections and 15 career touchdowns before turning pro.

Funchess made the move to wide receiver after being taken by the Panthers in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The move worked for him, even though he never received any accolades. He scored 21 touchdowns in just four seasons in Carolina before signing with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Packers picked up Funchess before the 2020 season. However, he opted out of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He returned for the 2021 season but was released after being placed on injured reserve.

Funchess made a few more stops before his NFL career came to an end. Now he has turned his full attention to playing basketball and pursuing his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.


The football-basketball debate

Funchess is making his professional basketball dreams a reality, given recent headlines.

Former NBA guard Austin Rivers recently went viral for having a strong attitude. He claimed that NBA players have a greater chance of being successful in the NFL than football players who want to go pro in basketball.

“I can take 30 players in the NBA right now and throw them in the NFL,” Rivers said. “You can’t put 30 NFL players in the NFL.”

Future Hall of Famer JJ Watt clapped back at Rivers on X.

“You don’t have a job right now either, go ahead and give it a try…” Watt replied.

The debate is one that comes up every offseason. However, Funchess playing in Colombia will help give the NFL side of the argument some more credibility going forward.