CHARLOTTE – Just two days earlier, he was talking about how difficult it was to not have the chance to make as many plays in his first year in the NFL as he was in his final year at Notre Dame.
Through five games, Cole Kmet was targeted three times by either Mitchell Trubisky or Nick Foles and had only one catch in Week 2 against the Giants. He even met with the starting quarterback and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham on Friday to talk about first year with Bears.
But in the NFL, situations and fates can change fast.
Just 48 hours later, the Lake Barrington native was about to get a career milestone in the first minutes of the game.
After a turnover and the third play for the Bears on offense Sunday against the Panthers, Kmet caught his first touchdown pass from Foles to get on the board in 2020. It was just his second reception all year and produced a magical moment for the player who grew up watching and rooting for the Bears.
“It’s kinda crazy right now that actually happened, it’s pretty awesome,” said Kmet, but something made it even more special.
Thanks to the Panthers allowing just over 5,000 fans into Bank of America Stadium for the game, Cole’s mother Kandace was able to get in the building to see the historic moment.
“I let her know that they were letting some fans in or whatever. That had to be on Thursday. She didn’t know if she’d be able to make it or not but I got her a ticket just in case,” said Kmet. “She’s going to Florida to pick up my sister. She’s been doing school down there.
“She flew in this morning, she was able to get in, so she’s flying out today to see my sister.”
It wasn’t hard for the tight end to find his mom during pregame warmups in Section 205 of the stadium, because Kandace made herself easy to find.
“She was waving like a mad woman and I found here and I just gave her and gave her a wave,” said Kmet.
The touchdown catch wasn’t really even supposed to happen on that play, with the ball intended to go elsewhere. But how the play lined up gave Kmet a shot to make a play that he’d waited a month-and-a-half for in the NFL.
“I saw where the safeties were lined up, and I knew there was a possibility the ball could come to me,” said Kmet. “Obviously it came my way and made the play, and it was an awesome feeling.”
One that he could share with someone close to him.