Former Packers Receiver Signs Professional Basketball Contract

Devin Funchess

Getty Former Packers WR Devin Funchess is now playing pro basketball.

Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Devin Funchess is trying his hand at a different sport, signing a pro basketball contract.

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

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

“So, I was just [playing basketball] to kind of cope with something that I never had to deal with—being away with football…then it was just like, this was an outlet for me to think of 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 be looking to keep playing as long as he can, and at 29 years old 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 originally a wide receiver.

Coming out of Michigan, Funchess was a 4-star high school tight end. His offers included out-of-state schools like Cincinnati and Nebraska, but he ultimately decided to play for the Wolverines.

It didn’t take long for Funchess to have an impact. He saw immediate 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 going 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 out for him, even if he never received any accolades. He hauled in 21 touchdowns in just four seasons in Carolina before signing a deal 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 couple more stops before his NFL career came to a close. Now, he has fully turned his attention to playing basketball and pursuing his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.

The Football-Basketball Debate

Funchess making his pro basketball dreams a reality seem fitting given recent headlines.

Former NBA guard Austin Rivers went viral recently over a strong stance. He claimed that NBA players are more likely to be successful in the NFL compared to football players trying to go pro in basketball.

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

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

“You don’t got a job in either right now, go head and try it…” Watt replied.

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

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