Founding Owner Of The Carolina Panthers Jerry Richardson Dead At 86

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Jerry Richardson, original owner of the Carolina Panthers, has died at the age of 86.

“Jerry Richardson’s contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic. 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,” Panthers co-owners David and Nicole Tepper said in a statement, reported.

Richardson was born July 18, 1936, in Spring Hope, North Carolina. He attended Wofford College where he had a decorated career on the football team and set the school record for receiving yards in a game at 241. He also holds the record for career touchdown receptions at 21.

Richardson’s success in college lead him to the NFL, where he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1959. He won an NFL championship in 1959, catching a touchdown from legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas, reported.

He only played two seasons in the NFL, but used some of his football earnings to start the first Hardee’s restaurant. He eventually became the chief executive officer of the sixth-largest food service company in the United States at the time, Flagstar, ABC 11 reported.

The team was founded in 1995 and sold to David Tepper in 2017. The Panthers were 9-8 in the postseason and lost two Super Bowls, NBC Sports reported. Richardson put the team up for sale at the end of the 2017 season after the NFL began investigations into allegations of workplace misconduct against him, reported.