CHARLOTTE – The Panthers, behind owner David Tepper's leadership, have expanded the franchise's Hall of Honor with the addition of four new players:
- Quarterback Jake Delhomme
- Tackle Jordan Gross
- Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.
- Tight end Wesley Walls
Prior to these additions, Carolina had one player in its Hall of Honor – linebacker Sam Mills. The Hall of Honor also includes PSL Owners and original general manager/president Mike McCormack.
The induction ceremony for the 2019 class will take place during a game this season.
"It's something that was so overdue," Tepper said of expanding the team's Hall of Honor. "I mean, to have one player in the Hall of Honor after 25 years? It was time. It was past due time. One year in, when I got to know a little more about the team, a little more about the history, I think it was the right time."
Tepper personally delivered the news to the four inductees with FaceTime calls earlier this spring. It was emotional, and at times, overwhelming.
"It was great. It surprised me, how some of the guys reacted, how they were choked up," Tepper said. "Anybody whose heart is not warmed a little by that, they've got a hard heart. Listen, all four of these guys are great guys. I've gotten to know them a little bit. I couldn't be prouder to have them in the Hall of Honor."
The players were later flown to Charlotte to get measurements for bronze busts and Panther blue jackets. In time, their names will be displayed in the upper bowl like the current honorees.
And really, that's just the beginning of what's in store.
"I'm excited. I think the fans will be really excited," Tepper said. "And when we do have our new facility we'll have a real proper place for the Hall of Honor. We'll make it a really cool place for everyone to come and celebrate the Panthers."