Buffalo, NY - In 2016, Chris Manhertz accomplished something that would be a dream for most sports fans – he caught a pass in the National Football League. What makes that feat even more impressive is that the only football experience he had up until then was playing the Madden NFL video game.
The tight end for the NFL Carolina Panthers was a standout basketball player for the Golden Griffins. The 6-foot-6-inch forward led the men’s team in rebounds for three consecutive seasons and ranks fourth on Canisius’ all-time rebounds list.
It wasn’t until after graduation that Manhertz transitioned from the hardwood to the gridiron.
“It’s see ball, get ball,” Manhertz says. “It’s a different shaped ball but it’s pretty much the same concept.”
Manhertz signed originally with the Buffalo Bills. He didn’t make the preseason roster but the New Orleans Saints later signed Manhertz to the practice squad. He cracked the team’s active roster in 2016, making his NFL debut on September 18 that year. He played three games and posted two starts for the Saints before the team released him. The Carolina Panthers pounced and claimed Manhertz off waivers the very next day.