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Panthers 2021 season opener countdown: 81 days to go

We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off the 2021 season.

NFL: Carolina Panthers Rookie Minicamp Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only 81 days away from the start of the Carolina Panthers 2021 regular season, so that means our countdown brings us to No. 81 on the roster — wide receiver Micah Simon.

Simon’s story is a good one. After playing quarterback for his dominant high school football team in Texas, he signed up to play for BYU. The Cougars moved him wide out, and he was slow to adjust to the position. He finally broke out, relatively speaking, his senior year, as he caught 51 passes for 616 yards and 2 touchdowns. His chemistry with then BYU quarterback Zach Wilson would help him land on an NFL roster over a year later.

Simon went undrafted and unsigned after the 2020 NFL Draft. He ended up taking a job at a mortgage company, but never gave up on his NFL dream. He continued to work out on his own, posting workout videos and drill times. Just over a year later, he was invited to run routes for Wilson at his pro day. This was the opportunity Simon had been waiting for. In front of several NFL scouts, he put on a show athletically, including running a 4.34 40-yard dash. Panthers scouting department personnel came away so impressed, that Simon was signed to the roster not long after. With the exit of Curtis Samuel to Washington, there is a bit of a vacuum at the middle of the wide receiver depth chart. He’ll have to battle fellow rookies Terrace Marshall Jr. and Shi Smith, as well as free agent signing David Moore, but he should be able to at least carve out a spot on the practice squad this year.