Former Panthers Players Remember Jerry Richardson

Players share condolences and fond memories of Carolina Panthers founder Jerry Richardson, who passed away at age 86.

CHARLOTTE, N. C. — People are remembering the legacy of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson.

The man who brought the NFL to the Carolinas died peacefully at his Charlotte home on Wednesday night at the age of 86.

Richardson dreamed about bringing an NFL franchise to Charlotte, and that dream came true in 1993.

Former Panthers players are remembering the man who started it all, and share a side of the “Big Cat” that many never got to know.

“He’d always talk to me before the game, he’d come on the field and he wasn’t this meddling owner in the least bit.” Former Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme says there’s a lot that people don’t know about Jerry Richardson. “If there was a tough time, like if a player got hurt and had a surgery or if something with the family, Mr Richardson was always there.”

Greg Olsen experienced that first hand when his son T.J. was born with a severe heart defect. Richardson provided his private jet to help him get the best medical care possible. The former Panthers tight end expressed his gratitude in a video he posted on twitter.

“We got love from a man that was my employer, he was my boss,” Olsen said.  “He was not a close personal friend at the time. And he went above and beyond to bring love and bring comfort to a family at its toughest time.”

Steve Smith Sr. also took to social media, tweeting “When i lost my grandfather, you filled that role…” Something the former Panthers wide receiver shared with Morgan  Fogarty during a one-on-one interview back in 2015.

“I owe him everything. He’s changed — he’s given me the opportunity to change my life, my kids’ lives, for generations. I owe him a debt of gratitude that I can never repay.”

Olsen says he and his family will miss him. “Our hearts go out to the entire family. This whole community owes a lot to the Richardson family and Mr. Richardson.”

*** Included in the above video, WCCB Charlotte’s Morgan Fogarty and Kelli Bartik share their personal memories of Jerry Richardson.