South Carolina product Damiere Byrd has impressed throughout Panthers training camp in Spartanburg. That transferred into success on the field in Carolina’s preseason opener against the Texans Wednesday night in Charlotte.
Byrd caught four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter with the Panthers leading 24-10. The speedy wide out also returned two punts for 19 yards and one kick for 22 yards.
“It means a lot. It’s a dream of everybody’s to be able to play for an organization as great as this in the NFL. It’s always great to step on the field,” Byrd said.
While Byrd made several impressive plays, the highlight of the night was a 50-yard touchdown catch from Joe Webb in the second quarter.
Byrd turned around Houston corner Robert Nelson Jr. on a deep pass over the middle and hauled in the touchdown to put the Panthers on top 14-7.
“The safety was down. I knew I had a corner on his own, so I was ready,” Byrd said. “It means a lot to me. Anytime you have a touchdown in this league, it means a lot. I’m happy to be out here.”
Derek Anderson, who started at quarterback for the Panthers, said the play was an impressive one by Webb and Byrd.
“That was nice. He had the perfect coverage for it. He told me he saw it right away and had to hold on to it for a second and let him win,” Anderson said. “Great play by both of those guys.”
Byrd wasn’t done, though. His second touchdown of the game came on an 8-yard pass from Webb that put the Panthers ahead 24-10 in the third quarter.
The Panthers have Thursday off before returning to Spartanburg for training camp on Friday.
Carolina’s next preseason game is Saturday, Aug. 19 at Tennessee.