CEDAR FALLS — Former Northern Iowa All-American Karter Schult signed a contract Monday with the Carolina Panthers after participating in the team’s rookie minicamp this past weekend.
Schult was among four players signed by the Panthers from a 28-player tryout. The former UNI standout spent the 2017 preseason with the Cleveland Browns and recorded 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a reserve in four preseason games. The Browns cut Schult before the regular season and he went unsigned throughout 2017.
The Tripoli native trained throughout his time as an NFL free agent and accepted invitations to Minnesota’s and Carolina’s minicamps this month. After participating at Vikings minicamp Schult told The Gazette he felt good about his chances of getting signed before heading to Carolina’s camp. Now, having signed a contract, Schult says he feels relieved.
“It’s a feeling of relief, excitement, just pretty much pure joy,” Schult said. “I’ve been working at this for so long, ever since I got released by the Browns. It was almost like an abstract idea because I didn’t really have much contact with any teams until a couple months ago. But I kept working as if I was on a team. I worked so hard.
“Just to see it finally pay off, it was just a sense of relief, to be honest, because I know I can play football at this level. It seemed like I wasn’t getting my opportunity but I finally did.”
While he felt good about his chances in Carolina, Schult says the opportunity to flash in front of coaches was limited this past weekend as the Panthers only hold two minicamp practices while most NFL teams hold three.
“I came here with the intention of trying to dominate and catch the coaches’ eyes. I just wanted to flash. That’s what I did,” Schult said. “I was pass-rushing. I knew I was on their radar, at least, going into the second day. Then on the second day it was more of the same where I was getting talked to by all of the defensive coaches. Then the head coach was taking notice, telling me ‘good job’ here and there. At that point I knew I had their attention at the very least.”
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The former, and now current, Panther described Carolina’s 4-3 defense as “really good for me,” and “a little bit more complex” than other defenses he has experience with, but added that he picked the defense up quickly during minicamp.
With OTAs (organized team activities) beginning next week Schult said he’s focused on keeping his plan simple.
“Right now the plan is just no days off, no rest now,” Schult said. “There’s some training this week with (the team). Then it’s just trying to compete for a roster spot. Once camp rolls around it’s going to be pedal to the medal and the goal is to make the 53-man roster.”