Just seconds after scoring his first touchdown for the Atlanta Falcons Sunday against Tampa Bay, former Clemson tight end Michael Palmer quickly came to the realization of what actually happened.
"Honestly, it was surreal," Palmer tells CUTigers. "As soon as I scored Tony [Gonzalez] came over and picked me up and I started thinking about it. You know, nobody can take this away from me. That was one of the first things I thought about it. No matter what happens, I've scored a touchdown in the NFL."
Indeed he has.
It just so happened that score, which was also Palmer's first-ever in the Georgia Dome after multiple appearances in high school and at Clemson, helped Atlanta build a 13 point lead on the way to claiming first-place in the rough-and-rugged NFC South.
"It was a big win for us," Palmer said. "We knew first-place was on the line and we really came out and executed our game plan."
Palmer, who was considered a long-shot by many to make the Falcons' 53-man regular season roster after signing with the team in April, continues to exceed the expectations of ... well, just about everybody.
"As soon as I scored Tony [Gonzalez] came over and picked me up and I started thinking about it. You know, nobody can take this away from me. That was one of the first things I thought about it. No matter what happens, I've scored a touchdown in the NFL." (Getty Images)
"He's been great," Palmer says. "I've learned so much about route running since I've been here because of him and that's made a huge difference for me."
After setting the single-season record for receptions by a tight end a year ago in Tigertown, Palmer has also done his best to keep an eye on the Tigers this year.
He made the trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass. two weeks ago to check out the Tigers in person during the Falcons' bye week, and also watches on television whenever he can.
Still a part of the program but also a fan as well, Palmer's assessment of the season will sound familiar to many of the passionate fans that chime in on sports talk shows and message boards.
"It's crazy how the year has worked out," he said. "Hopefully they can really get back in this week in Tallahassee but watching the N.C. State game was frustrating. I'm just glad we were able to pull one out in the end."
And in the meantime, Palmer will keep on doing what he does best - staying under the radar and catching passes for one of the NFC's best teams.
"It's been great," he added. "I'm just truly thankful for the opportunity I've gotten so far and hopefully I can continue to make the most of it."