CHARLOTTE – Steve Smith, Sr., Jake Delhomme, Jordan Gross and Wesley Walls, are all focused on the same thing ahead of Hall of Honor weekend.
“The biggest thing going through my head is, ‘Do I have enough tickets for everyone? Who am I missing?’” Smith said. “Will everyone get there on time? Time management is most important.”
“I think if I can get all the women in my life to Charlotte then it will be mission accomplished,” Gross said. “There is so much concern about who is wearing what and the attire for this – I just spent 20 minutes looking for clip-on earrings my 10-year-old wants to wear.”
No detail is too small for a weekend like this.
For these four Panthers legends, it will be packed with emotion.
And no one really knows how they’ll react when the names are unveiled in front of the crowd and that microphone is in hand.
“I will let it come from the heart,” said Delhomme, who is also working as the color analyst for the radio broadcast. “I have a feeling of gratitude and peace. I know that sounds strange, but that’s how I feel. I am beyond grateful for my time in Carolina and I feel at peace about seeing all of ‘my’ people back in that stadium where we had so many great times.”
Said Walls: “I think I’m going to just go with emotion. I’ve got a feeling when I walk out on that field, whatever I plan to say is probably going to end up being something else anyway. But I’m excited to share it with the fans. If they were fans when I was playing, that means they’ve been a fan for a long time."
Gross, true to form, had this to say about his prepared – or unprepared – remarks.
“The fans cheered me on when things weren’t always great on the field. They always made me feel appreciated,” Gross said. “I haven’t thought about what I’ll say, it’s such a short time, and they’re just going to want to hear from Steve anyways. I’ll keep it short so Steve can take more time.”
What does Smith, arguably the most popular player in team history, have planned?
“I’m still trying to figure out what to say,” Smith said. “I’ve changed it six times now. I’m not sure what emotions I’ll have. I’ve blocked out a lot of things so far.
“I’m not sure how much longer that will last.”
New Hall of Honor inductees Steve Smith, Jake Delhomme, Jordan Gross and Wesley Walls try on their new honorary jackets prior to Saturday night's reception.