Brandon Tate has bolted from the gates in his second NFL season with kick-off returns for touchdowns in two of the New England Patriots' first four games.
Tate ran one the distance 97 yards in the season opener against Cincinnati. See it here:
And he took one 103 yards on Monday night against Miami just last week. See that one here:
With the Patriots having a bye week the second weekend in October, some around the Tar Heel program were hoping Tate might come south for the weekend and visit Kenan Stadium for the Clemson game.
That visit didn't develop, but the Carolina sideline did receive a visit from E.J. Wilson, a fourth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks who has made the active roster on coach Pete Carroll's squad. The Seahawks were off as well, so Wilson flew across country to visit his family in Emporia, Va., and then drive on to Chapel Hill.
Elsewhere among former Tar Heels in the NFL, long snapper Ethan Albright, released by the Redskins after the 2009 season, latched on in San Diego in late September. Albright is in his 16th NFL season and had snapped in all 16 games every year since 1996 until this season. He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Green Bay in 1994.
Julius Peppers' return to Charlotte, now as a member of the Chicago Bears, was a big story Sunday as the Bears ventured south and hammered the winless Panthers, 23-6. The highlight of the game was an acrobatic play by Peppers in which he batted a pass, fell to the ground and intercepted the ball before it landed.
"Quick screens to his side are not recommended," Panthers coach John Fox said in an understatement.
Place-kicker Connor Barth had a game-winning kick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, nailing a 31-yarder with 13 seconds left to lift the Bucs over Cincinnati 24-21.