Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How can Richardson need a new heart?

How can Jerry Richardson need a new heart? That seems impossible – and unfair.

Richardson, 72, has been put on a heart transplant waiting list. But the Panthers founder and owner has long had one of the biggest hearts in the Carolinas. He has given untold millions of people joy by spearheading the drive to bring the NFL here. The Carolina Panthers were his before he shared them with all of us – his enormous, unlikely vision.

I’ve heard hundreds of stories about Richardson over the years. Almost all of them relate to his Everyman touch.

Richardson was driving around in his golf cart and stopped at a fan’s tailgate party to shoot the breeze: that’s a common one. Or someone was in the hospital and who appeared out of nowhere at their bedside? Richardson. Or Richardson would invite a player to his home for good food and fatherly advice (and, sometimes, a stern talking-to).

Most people still call him “Mr. Richardson” – even staff members who have known him for years. The former NFL player cuts an intimidating figure. He looks like a “Mister.” Some veteran Panther players who have known him for years dare to call him “The Big Cat.”

Richardson also has one of the most infectious laughs I’ve ever heard – an absolute cackle that makes me grin just to think about it.

Maybe Richardson’s heart has begun to wear out because he has used it so much. My prayers go out to him.

And a warning to his doctors: When you find a new heart for the Big Cat, it better be the XXXL model.


Joey said...

Big Cat, we are praying for you! We will pray that Christ takes care of you and through this, people come to know Jesus!

1 John 1:9, 2 Corinthians 11:3


Andy said...

We love you Jerry! Hang in there man!!!!

Ben said...

Wow, it's something to see a younger Jerry Richardson handing a very child-like Kerry Collins a new jersey. So much water under the bridge. Mr. Richardson remembers the days when pro football players held jobs in the off season to pay the bills. I grew up in Baltimore and my family had Colts as neighbors. The guys made squat back then and were pretty much regular guys. Mr. Richardson is truly a unique gem among owners.
Get well soon Big Cat!

Jacob said...


Have you heard about how he paid to have a Dock restored for the little town of Beaufort, NC where he frequents with his yacht? Apparently, the town had been struggling to afford to fix it and he paid for it.

samurai said...

Praying for Mr. Richardson here as well.

Jacob said...

Not a dock, I actually meant a boathouse.

David said...

You are a giant amongst men. I see you out and abought all of the time in the SouthPark area and besides the fact that you still look like you can put on the pads and play, you are a very kind, gentle person as well.

Thank you for everything you have done for the Charlotte Region.You will be appreciated forever!

See you at the playoffs! Make sure you watch The Greatest Game Ever Played Saturday evening...Colts-Giants in color!

Jennifer said...

I said this on another article of Mr. Scott's, but I cant say it enough.

Mr. Richardson, may the blessings you have shown others come back to you in this time of need "tenfold".

God Speed, all my prayers to you and yours!!

ps....I have no doubt the donor will have been a Panthers fan :-)