Ex-Panthers WR Devin Funchess Makes History By Signing Pro Basketball Deal

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess walks on the field before a game in 2018.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess walks on the field before a game in 2018. / Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Funchess is beginning a new chapter in his professional athletic career.

The former NFL wide receiver recently signed a contract with the Caribbean Storm Llaneros, a team based in Villavicencio, Colombia, that competes in the Professional Colombia Basketball league. He made his debut on the court earlier this month.

There have been several athletes to play professional basketball before beginning their NFL careers. Bud Grant was selected in both the NBA and NFL drafts and won a championship with the Minneapolis Lakers before beginning his football playing career. Tight end Darren Fells played professional hoops overseas in Argentina, Mexico, Belgium, Finland and France before signing with the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

But Funchess is the first former NFL player in league history to sign a professional basketball contract after a career on the gridiron.

Funchess told NFL.com's Kassidy Hill that he plans to try out for two NBA G League teams later this fall. He's targeting tryouts with the Ontario Clippers and Greensboro Swarm, the affiliates of the Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets.

Funchess, a second-round draft pick in 2015, played 62 games over five seasons with the Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts from 2015 to '19. He opted out of playing in 2020 and bounced around on practice squads around the league the next two seasons before retiring from the NFL in December 2022.

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Tom Dierberger


Tom Dierberger is a writer and editor for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Tom joined SI in 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports, and NBC Sports. In his spare time, Tom can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.