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Panthers’ Funchess finds end zone, delivers on promise to fallen soldier’s family

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Devin Funchess #17 of the Carolina Panthers scores a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 13, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess made good on his promise to the family of a fallen soldier Monday night after scoring the first of two touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins.

Whenever the Panthers score a touchdown, the ball is typically given to quarterback Cam Newton, who then gives it to a fan on the sidelines.

On Monday, Funchess flipped the script and gave the ball to a family still reeling from the loss of Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge.

Baldridge, 22, was killed in action on June 10 in Afghanistan.

Funchess, who wore the initials “D.B.” on his helmet, promised Baldridge’s mother after practice on Sunday that he’d find a way into the end zone.

“I told Dillon’s mom that I was going to get in the end zone for her,” Funchess told Panthers.com. “That’s what I did. I made sure she got the first touchdown (ball).”

Funchess scored a 28-yard touchdown in the third quarter and a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

In the end, the Panthers defeated the Dolphins 45-21.

“I love playing the game. It’s a blessing,” Funchess said. “Hearing (Dillon’s) story, you have to be thankful just to be here.”