Carolina Panthers Founder Jerry Richardson Dead At 86

By Jason Hall

March 2, 2023

NFL: NOV 26 Panthers at Jets
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Carolina Panthers founder and former team owner Jerry Richardson died at the age of 86, the team announced in a news release shared on its official website Thursday (March 2) afternoon.

"Jerry Richardson's contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic," said Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper, who purchased the team from Richardson in 2017. "With the arrival of the Panthers in 1995, he changed the landscape of sports in the region and gave the NFL fans here a team to call their own. He was incredibly gracious to me when I purchased the team, and for that I am thankful. Nicole and I extend our deepest condolences to Rosalind, the entire Richardson family, and their loved ones. We wish them much peace and comfort."

Richardson played flanker/halfback for the then-Baltimore Colts for two seasons in 1959-1960, winning an NFL championship in 1959 and recording 15 receptions for 171 yards and four touchdowns in 22 career games.

The Spring Hope native began his entrepreneurial career by opening the first Hardee's franchise in Spartanburg and later became the chief executive officer of Flagstar, one of the largest food service companies in the U.S. at the time. Richardson founded the Panthers in 1993, becoming the first NFL player to own a franchise since late Chicago Bears owner George Halas and was one of two NFL owners, along with the late Robert C. McNair of the Houston Texans, to have owned his team for the entirety of its existence at the time of its sale in 2017.

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