Panthers founder, former proprietor Jerry Richardson dies at 86

CHARLOTTE, N.C (AP) — Jerry Richardson, the Carolina Panthers founder and for years one of many NFL’s most influential house owners till a scandal compelled him to promote the crew, has died. He was 86.

Richardson died peacefully Wednesday night time at his Charlotte residence, the crew mentioned in a press release.

Richardson grew to become the primary former NFL participant to personal a crew since Chicago’s George Halas when he landed the enlargement Panthers in 1993.

A former teammate of Johnny Unitas who caught a landing go within the Baltimore Colts’ victory over the New York Giants within the 1959 NFL championship sport, Richardson solely spent two years within the NFL earlier than venturing into the restaurant enterprise. He used his championship bonus cash to open the primary Hardee’s in Spartanburg, South Carolina — near the place he had attended Wofford School.

He went on to make his fortune within the restaurant enterprise, changing into chief govt officer of Flagstar, the sixth-largest meals service firm within the nation on the time.

The Spring Hope, North Carolina, native spent years attempting to steer the NFL to place a crew within the Carolinas, in the end succeeding by way of a comparatively unique idea of funding a brand new stadium by way of the gross sales of everlasting seat licenses.

“Jerry Richardson’s contributions to skilled soccer within the Carolinas are historic,” present Panthers proprietor David Tepper and his spouse Nicole mentioned in a press release. “With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995, he modified the panorama of sports activities within the area and gave the NFL followers right here a crew to name their very own. He was extremely gracious to me once I bought the crew, and for that I’m grateful. Nicole and I lengthen our deepest condolences to Rosalind, your complete Richardson household, and their family members. We want them a lot peace and luxury.”