subject: Gastonia’s Zeek Bigger signs 3-year contract with Carolina PanthersPosted: 1:46am, Jun 2, 2017
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For Zeek Bigger,, attending a Carolina Panthers’ rookie minicamp earlier this month provided just the opportunity he needed.

Bigger signed a three-year free agent contract with the Panthers Tuesday morning,, making the former All-Gazette selection from Ashbrook the first Gaston County product to sign with the local NFL team.

“It’s just a blessing,, a 2011 Ashbrook High graduate who was a three-time All-American Athletic Conference performer at East Carolina. “I thank God for everything. I’ve been working and grinding. The time is now. I got a call yesterday for me to a sign a three-year deal. I’m just happy to be a Panther,” said Bigger, happy to be at home and I’m just ready to go.”

Bigger participated in Carolina’s OTAs on Tuesday morning after signing his contract and the 6-foot-1, 231-pound linebacker is a member of the Panthers’ 90-player roster. The Panthers hold the option for all three years of the contract.

“We’re constantly looking at guys and working guys out,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “Zeek is a guy that came in and did some nice things. He showed good quickness and picked up things well. Obviously, you have to stay fluid with the bottom portion (of your roster) as you look for guys that fit what you do.”

Bigger said no other NFL teams called after he participated in a three-day minicamp earlier this month and he is eager to do whatever will solidify his position on the Panthers’ roster.

“I felt confident,,,,” Bigger said of his play in the minicamp earlier this month. “I felt I came out and did what I supposed to do. Other than that,,, it was out of my hands. I left with my head up and knowing that I did the best I could do.

“I’m doing whatever they want me to do and I’m ready to play.”

Bigger is back on a football field after going undrafted out of East Carolina in 2016 and spending the year working out before participating in a NFL developmental league in Sulphur Springs,, W.Va. earlier this year.

10 pass break-ups and 12 quarterback hurries from 2012 to 2015 at East Carolina.,,An All-Gazette selection for Ashbrook in 2010, three quarterback sacks, Bigger made 333 tackles with 14 1-2 tackles for losses, three interceptions

“This is the first day and we’re going to get things going and get things grinding and that’s what I’m praying for,” Bigger said. “I’m just rebooting. I’ve been out for a year but I’ve stayed ready. I’m healthy and feel good and I’m ready to fly around and have fun. It’s a blessing to put on this helmet. It’s something I prayed for and it’s happened.”
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