Panthers Blitz

Zeek Bigger hoping to write comeback story with Panthers

Posted August 9
Updated August 10

— Former East Carolina linebacker Zeek Bigger is fighting for his ultimate dream — securing a roster spot in the National Football League.

Bigger’s unique journey brought him to Carolina Panthers training camp in Spartanburg, where he is currently slotted as a third-string linebacker

The Gastonia native joined the team in late May as an unrestricted free agent after taking almost a full year off from football.

Bigger didn't receive an opportunity to play in the league after going undrafted out of ECU in 2016, so the former Pirate played in the Spring League last season.

“I went out and did what I did; had fun, [and] played ball,” Bigger said. “I worked on my skill level and everything I could during the time I was off.”

His time in the Spring League lasted only three games, but Bigger continued to train until the next opportunity came knocking.

Bigger had to finance his training after his time in the Spring League, so he found work with Marco’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and a moving company to stay afloat.

Former Pirate LB dreaming 'Bigger' with NFL opportunity

“Not only did it humble me, but it showed me the life that I could live when this was taken away from me,” Bigger said, wearing a Marco’s Pizza cap. “When I put this hat on it’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not going back. It’s time to grind; you’re here. You worked so hard to get here, now you have to work hard to stay here.’

"I don’t mind. I worked at Marco’s. I’ll tell anybody. I had to do what I had to do.”

Carolina gave the Gastonia native a chance this summer with an invite to rookie minicamp. Bigger wasn’t one of the three players to receive contracts immediately after camp, but he did sign a contract at the end of May before the start of OTAs.

“When I got the call I boohooed like a baby,” Bigger said. “Twenty minutes right down the street is home. My mother, my dad, [and] everybody. It’s just a blessing and I’m taking it one step at a time.”

Several other linebackers are vying for a spot on the final roster, including Ben Boulware, Jared Norris, Ben Jacobs and Jeremy Cash.

Former NCSU, Duke and ECU players fight for Panthers roster spots

But despite the battle to secure a job, Bigger said the entire linebacker corps has the same mindset — help the man next to you.

“We’re always willing to help each other. It’s my first year, so they’re always willing to help me," he said. "We don’t single each other out, we want to be the best group we can be.

"We never know who’s going to be kept, but as long as you have a bond and keep playing, than you never know what can happen. Any day you could get hurt off of something. It’s better to keep each other around and keep each other confident, because you never know when it could be your last time.”

Bigger is getting a top notch education at the position from All-Pro linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis regardless of whether or not he makes the team.

“It’s been overwhelming, just trying to put my seed into something,” Bigger said. “As a young one, just try to gain a lot of knowledge. It may not be this year, it may not be next year. But when it’s actually my time to play as a linebacker, I’m going to be here and do whatever I can to help this team in any way.”

Bigger now has a familiar face to go through the grind with, former ECU tight end Bryce Williams, who signed a deal to join the last week.

“We both worked out together during pro days, so we’ve been around each other a lot,” Bigger said. “That’s my dog. Well, we call each other ‘bud,’ but that’s my dog. I’m just happy for him, not only for me.”

Bigger got a taste of playing at Bank of America Stadium during Fan Fest last week, but he’ll have his first chance to make his mark Wednesday night when the Panthers host the Houston Texans in the team's first preseason game.

“I’m excited, getting to play in a game for the first time in a year; that’s all I want to do,” Bigger said. “I just want to go out here and show what type of player I am, show what I can do, show my skill level and be able to be trusted by these coaches to be able what they want me to do on either special teams or defense.”

For the latest Carolina Panthers news, follow WRAL Sports Fan's Panthers Blitz blog and Jon Stout on Twitter.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
Listen & Watch
  • HighSchoolOT Live

    Friday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-2

  • Football Friday

    Friday at 11:35 pm on WRAL-TV

  • ACC Football: Pittsburgh @ Duke

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • College Football: Southern Cal @ Notre Dame

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASL Soccer: San Francisco @ North Carolina FC

    Saturday at 7:30 pm on WRAL-2

  • The Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • Motor Sports: Formula 1 Racing - Austin

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Atlanta @ New England

    Sunday at 8:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL Football Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears

    Sunday at 12:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL Football Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers

    Sunday at 5:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB Playoffs Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers Game 7 (if necessary)

    Sunday at 6:30 pm on 95.7 The Ticket

  • NFL Football Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots

    Sunday at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

AP Top 25
Thu, Oct 19
25
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
Sat, Oct 21
10
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
5
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
1
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
8
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
18
20
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
14
9
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
16
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
24
4:15 PT5:15 MT6:15 CT7:15 ET11:15 GMT7:15 北京时间4:15 MST6:15 EST
Preview
21
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
11
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
13
19
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
2
23
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
4
7:45 PT8:45 MT9:45 CT10:45 ET2:45 GMT10:45 北京时间7:45 MST9:45 EST
Preview
15
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Oct. 19
Kansas City 5:25 PT6:25 MT7:25 CT8:25 ET0:25 GMT8:25 5:25 MST7:25 EST7:25 CT4:25 UAE (+1)20:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Oakland 
Sunday, Oct. 22
Tampa Bay 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Buffalo 
Carolina 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Chicago 
Tennessee 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Cleveland 
New Orleans 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Green Bay 
Jacksonville 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Indianapolis 
Arizona 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
LA Rams 
NY Jets 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Miami 
Baltimore 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Minnesota 
Dallas 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
San Francisco 
Denver 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
LA Chargers 
Seattle 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
NY Giants 
Cincinnati 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Pittsburgh 
Atlanta 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
New England 
Monday, Oct. 23
Washington 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Philadelphia 
NBA Scoreboard
Charlotte45Halftime
Detroit56
Brooklyn63Halftime
Indiana65
Miami55Halftime
Orlando58
Philadelphia59Halftime
Washington56
Milwaukee338:12
2nd Qtr
Boston37
New Orleans78:39
1st Qtr
Memphis7
Atlanta 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
Dallas 
Denver 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)03:0021:00 ET8:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Utah 
Minnesota 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)03:3021:30 ET8:30 CTNaN:�
Preview
San Antonio 
Portland 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Phoenix 
Houston 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)04:0022:00 ET9:00 CTNaN:�
Preview
Sacramento 
NHL Scoreboard
Detroit10:40
1st
Toronto4
Chicago013:32
1st
St. Louis1
Montreal 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 7:30 MST9:30 EST6:30 UAE (+1)22:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Preview
Los Angeles 
MLB Scoreboard
American League
Houston0Top
9th
NY Yankees5
National League
LA Dodgers 6:01 PT7:01 MT8:01 CT9:01 ET21:01 ET1:01 GMT9:01 6:01 MST8:01 EST8:31 VEN5:01 UAE (+1)8:01 CT
Preview
Chi Cubs 
Minor League Baseball
International League
Memphis 4:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET12:07 GMT
Durham 
ATP Scoreboard
Wednesday, Oct. 18
Intrum Stockholm Open (ATP)
First Round
P. Herbert2 6 3   
J. Janowicz6 3 6   
M. Copil77 4 612   
J. Struff62 6 714   
V. Troicki6 6    
S. Bolelli3 3    
(5) M. Zverev1 7 6   
M. Ymer6 5 4   
Second Round
(8) F. Verdasco6 6    
J. Zopp4 2    
(6) F. Fognini6 3 79   
E. Ymer4 6 67   
(3) J. Sock6 6    
J. Chardy4 4    
 
European Open (ATP)
First Round
C. Stebe6 4 0   
S. Darcis4 6 1   
Second Round
J. Sousa5 6 6   
S. Stakhovsky7 4 4   
H. Laaksonen1 1    
J. Benneteau6 6    
(3) N. Kyrgios77 3 3   
R. Bemelmans63 6 6   
 
Kremlin Cup (ATP/WTA)
First Round
M. Basic3 6 5   
B. Kavcic6 3 1   
A. Kuznetsov4 6 66   
D. Medvedev6 2 78   
Second Round
D. Sela7 6    
R. Dutra Silv5 1    
(6) D. Dzumhur4 7 6   
Y. Bhambri6 5 4   
(3) A. Mannarino6 77    
L. Rosol3 64    
(4) P. Kohlschrei77 61 3   
A. Seppi64 77 6   
 
WTA Scoreboard
Wednesday, Oct. 18
BGL Luxembourg Open (WTA)
Second Round
(5) E. Mertens6 0 6   
M. Brengle2 6 3   
(3) A. Kontaveit4 4    
H. Watson6 6    
C. Witthoeft6 6    
E. Rodina2 3    
(7) B. Haddad Mai6 65 2   
J. Larsson3 77 6   
P. Parmentier7 6    
V. Cepede Roy5 1    
(2) K. Bertens6 2    
A. Petkovic2 1    
S. Lisicki6 5 3   
N. Broady4 7 6   
M. Puig77 77    
A. Van Uytvan62 61    
 
Kremlin Cup (ATP/WTA)
Second Round
(7) J. Goerges6 6    
Y. Putintseva3 3    
(2) C. Vandeweghe5 6 2   
L. Tsurenko7 1 6   
(4) A. Sevastova4 3    
I. Begu6 6    
(1) K. Mladenovic2 6 2   
A. Sasnovich6 2 6   
K. Siniakova2 3    
D. Kasatkina6 6    
(6) D. Gavrilova3 1    
V. Lapko6 3    
(8) M. Rybarikova1 0    
A. Cornet6 0    
(3) E. Vesnina63 4    
N. Vikhlyants77 6