CONCORD – The biggest story line among national pundits about today’s New York Jets-Carolina Panthers game is once-highly touted quarterback Sam Darnold facing his old team.
But not in Cabarrus County.
There’s an air of excitement in the area because former Concord High School star Hamsah Nasirildeen will see his first NFL action, and it all takes place in his backyard: in Uptown Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
Nasirildeen, who graduated from Concord in 2017, was a sixth-round draft pick by the Jets this past summer, and he has created a vital place for himself on the roster.
Once a hard-hitting safety for the Spiders and later the Florida State University Seminoles, for whom he was once a second-team All-ACC selection, Nasirildeen is now a weak-side linebacker with the Jets.
As a rookie, he has a major task, as part of his responsibilities today will be making sure Carolina star running back Christian McCaffrey doesn’t break loose into the open field.
Nasirildeen has adapted well to his new position and should see plenty of action in today’s game, as he’s been listed in the preseason among the first-team performers. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder will be wearing jersey No. 45.
“Hamsah’s been really good,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told New York reporters recently. “Hamsah looks fantastic. He has a lot of energy to him. It’s a matter of continuing to learn the game and learn the process and all the little nuances that separate great players.”