Bears rookie tight end Cole Kmet saved a ticket for his mother Kandace Kmet for Sundays game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Kandace was heading to Florida from her Lake Barrington home to pick up Coles sister this weekend. She took a slight detour to Charlotte with an early flight Sunday morning, according to Cole.
It was worth the effort.
Kandace Kmet was one of only 5,240 fans in attendance when her son caught his first NFL touchdown on a pass from Bears quarterback Nick Foles in the first quarter.
Obviously, its a dream come true for me, Cole Kmet said. It was just pretty sweet.
NFL players are big, strong, macho dudes. Theyre supposed to act like theyve been there before. But when the first five games of your career are played in front of mostly empty stadiums with no family present, youre allowed to wave to mom.
Thats what Cole Kmet did before the game.
Section 205, Cole Kmet said. I saw her up there. She was waving like a madwoman pregame. I found her and gave a little wave. She was pumped up.
Bears safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on the first possession of the game, setting up the Bears with beautiful field position.
On 3rd-and-9 from the Carolina 9-yard line, Kmet cut toward the middle of the field and caught a Foles pass with two defenders draped all over him. It was no easy pitch and catch.
Foles said after the game that the play wasnt designed for Kmet, and that the Bears hadnt practiced the play that way at all during the week.
There was just something in my gut where Im like, Im gonna pull this trigger right here. Hes gonna catch it. Were gonna [score], Foles said. And thats football sometimes.
Bears coach Matt Nagy called it a special throw and a special catch. The Bears went on to win, 23-16, to move to 5-1.
The ball wasnt really supposed to come to me, Kmet said. And [the play] got killed, I kind of saw where the safeties were lined up. I knew that there was a possibility that the ball would come to me.
Kmet caught one more pass in the game to finish with two catches for 20 yards and a touchdown. The 21-year-old from Lake Barrington had only one catch in the previous five games. His coaches had been adamant that Kmet is doing all the right things, despite the low production in the pass game so far.
Kmet said his mom tried to scream down to him on the field after the game, but it was too difficult to catch anything she was saying.
Still, it was a special day for mother and son.
That was pretty cool for her to make it out, Kmet said.