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David Tepper committed to improvement, and Bryce Young

David Tepper

CHARLOTTE — Panthers owner David Tepper acknowledged the team's "difficult season" and his decision to part ways with head coach Frank Reich on Monday and said he understands the fans' frustration with their 1-10 record.

"Once upon a time, I was just a fan, a poor kid in Pittsburgh. That's what I was. So I know what it is to be a fan," Tepper said. "And every week we come in, and part of us are fans, OK? Nicole and I sit in that box, and we live and die with every play. So I understand how the fans feel, and I understand their frustration, and I appreciate that.

"I can just say this: we will make it better. I'm not promising that's going to happen tomorrow, but it may, OK?"

Tepper talked about the infrastructure improvements they've made in the football operation, things from the weight room to team dining, engagement with former players, and all the little things that don't show up in the standings. And he said he understood that's not the motivation for fans, either. 

"I understand their frustration," he said. "We share that frustration every Sunday with them."

Tepper didn't offer many specifics during his press conference Tuesday, either about the departure of Reich after 11 games or his process for selecting his next head coach. But he said that his preference is clearly not to turn coaches over as quickly as he has in the last 14 months.

"As I said, there are reasons for each individual situation," Tepper said. "But I have, I do have patience. My reputation away from this game is one for extreme patience. You know, there's no reason why that doesn't come here too. Patience comes with good performance and things that you want to see progress being made on different aspects.

"I would like to have somebody here for 20, 30 years. I'd like to have somebody who would say the eulogy at my funeral in 30 years, OK maybe it's 40 years, I hope. But that's what I'd like to have next."

Tepper said he'd continue to "evolve" the way he approaches things.

"Obviously, that record is not good enough," he said. "In this sport, everything's left on the field. Everybody knows what it is every week, that record's that record, and like I said, it's not good enough. We're going to self-reflect to make it better."

Tepper also emphasized the need to make the situation better for rookie quarterback Bryce Young after they traded away significant assets (including next year's first-round pick) for the Alabama quarterback. He also pushed back against speculation that others in the organization preferred other quarterbacks. He mentioned that the initial plan was to trade into the second spot in the draft for either Young or Stroud, but the Texans balked at moving up, so they traded with Chicago for the top pick. But the "unanimous" preference of the coaches and personnel department was Young, and when the football people presented that to him, he supported their conclusion.

"And listen, we preferred Bryce," Tepper said. "He was our number one pick. We had a lot of conviction. . . .

"For myself, and I think everybody in this building would share this sentiment. We are totally confident in that pick."

The David and Nicole Tepper Foundation partnered with the Bradley and Nikki Bozeman Foundation for the Bozeman Thanksgiving Bash. The event hosted 1,300 children from the Second Harvest Food Bank Kids' Café program for a special Thanksgiving dinner experience at Top Golf. Panthers players and 80 volunteers helped serve and entertain the kids during a special evening of fun and togetherness.