Click here to view a photo gallery of the renovated locker room.
CHARLOTTE – The locker room is a second home to players who earn a stall.
The Carolina Panthers decided that home needed some remodeling this offseason, and after a four-month construction project, the Panthers' refurbished locker room is complete.
"Anytime you walk into a new house, a new room, you feel good," longtime equipment manager Jackie Miles said.
While the locker stalls remained in place, essentially everything else in the Panthers' locker room was renovated.
"It's definitely an upgrade," right tackle Byron Bell said.
There are new name plates, new light fixtures, new televisions, new carpet and an illuminated Panthers logo on the ceiling.
"Most of the things done were aesthetics," Miles said. "(Team president) Danny Morrison hired an architectural firm (McMillan Pazdan Smith) to do it professionally. Everything was done first class."
There were some significant structural changes as well. The ceiling was lowered and perhaps most importantly, the locker room was made longer.
To make space for a longer locker room, two meeting rooms were knocked down and relocated. Now, instead of 66 lockers, the room holds 74, eliminating the need for players to share a locker.
"The main goal for me, (head athletic trainer) Ryan Vermillion and others was not to have some guys doubled up," Miles said. "We'll dress the rookies and the rookie free agents in the visiting team locker room and now we'll never have to double guys up."
The additional space was quickly noticed and appreciated.
"The first thing that came into my mind was, 'Man, there is way more space,'" wide receiver Brandon LaFell said. "We're not on top of each other like we used to be. There are way more lockers.
"Everybody upstairs put a lot of thought into this for the players."
With renovation project now complete, LaFell and his teammates plan to reciprocate the hard work exuded on their behalf.
"Everything is brand new. It's all really nice," LaFell said, "but at the same time, we've got to get to work."