Friday, August 5, 2011

Fans remember Kasay

When I think of the Carolina Panthers' various incarnations of Fan Fest over the years, I think of two Panther players above all else -- the late Fred Lane and John Kasay.

I think of Lane because that's where he burst onto the scene -- one of the very few players to make a mark on the field at Fan Fest and then continue that momentum for months.

I think of Kasay because of the way he acted at all the fan days like the one coming up Saturday in Charlotte -- he knew they were for the fans, first and foremost. The Panthers' placekicker would literally climb into the stands after some of them, taking a seat in the bleachers and signing autographs for hours until everyone had gone home.

After the Panthers fired the last of the original Panthers last week and hired Olindo Mare, I asked readers on my blog to email me with some of their favorite Kasay memories. I received far too many to publish them all here -- thanks to all who participated. But this edited sampling should give you an idea of what Kasay meant to fans:

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COACHING BASEBALL

My memories of John have very little to do with football.
John helped me coach numerous baseball teams for our sons over the last few years. Through every game, John kept the same composure and combined it with a caring personality for all the boys on the team. One would never know he was one of the greatest NFL kickers of all time by watching him around the baseball field. His faith and personality have made him one of my all-time favorite friends. Regardless of what John does next, he will remain an inspiration to everyone that crosses his path.

Tripp Roakes
Charlotte


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MAKING A CHILD'S DAY

The season before last at Panther training camp I was there at an early practice session. Kasay was practicing on a separate field, with no one watching except a Mom and a young boy about seven years old.

Kasay took notice. After awhile, he went over to the boy and his Mom and tossed the ball to the Mom saying "Can you hold this for me for awhile?" Then he asked if he could take the young boy for a walk to meet the rest of the team.

Kasay and the boy walked down the sidelines, meeting all the players. After about 30 minutes, he walked the boy back to his Mom -- and, of course, told them to keep the ball!
Richard McGinnis
Boiling Springs

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'AS LONG AS IT TAKES'

This was in 1996 at the first fan appreciation day. When they finally finished with their 7-on-7 drills, most of the players jogged off the field waving at the fans.... Walking next to Kerry Collins was this very young player. I thought maybe he was a walk-on. He was wearing the number 4. He turned to the security guard, asked him something and then he jogged over to the wall. He then climbed the wall, with a little help from the guard, and then, very calmly asked everyone to line up in single file, and he would sign autographs and take pictures.

Kids were lined up the as far as you could see, getting all excited at thought of finally meeting a real football player. I was standing in front of John Kasay as he politely talked to each person, and answered their questions. I asked John after 90 minutes, how much longer was he going to do this, he looked up and said, "As long as it takes to meet every person here."

Mickey Kidwell
Charlotte


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A SPONGE FOR CRITICISM

Throughout each season, I always knew the type of on-field performance to expect from Kasay, I always knew to expect his deflection of praise to all his teammates after a game-winning field goal, and I always knew to expect him to act like a sponge for all criticism after a miss.
I don't know what path Jerry Richardson and the Panthers will take in honoring Kasay, but induction into the Panthers Hall of Honor seems to me to be the only proper way to publicly recognize his consistently brilliant Panthers career.

Cody Brown

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EMAIL FROM AFGHANISTAN

I know the kickoff was bad in the Super Bowl... But if you look at that season, how many game-winning kicks did Kasay drill? The guy has been the most clutch kicker in the league for almost his entire career.

I was ten years old when we got the Panthers as a franchise and I have been watching and rooting and screaming and cursing at them since that time. The one guy you could never get mad at during a game has always been John Kasay.

It will be almost like culture shock to see him put on a different uniform this season. No matter what is said or where he goes I will always root for him as a player. I don't even think any Panther fan could ever even say a cross word if he was to put one through the uprights against us with time ticking down this season.

SPC Kirby Daniel
FOB Hadrian
Afghanistan


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"THAT'S NO.4"

I can't remember the game... The Panthers had called a timeout with about two seconds left in the game. They sent Kasay out to kick a field goal. It was win or lose. If he made, the Panther won, if not, they lost. He made it.

The next day, in your paper, I think it was Brentson Buckner who said he was standing on the sidelines, watching Kasay jog out to take the kick, and he saw a rookie player sitting on the bench with a towel over his head. He asked the rookie want he was doing, and the rookie said something like: "This is too nerve-racking, man, I can't watch."

Buckner said: "Man, take that towel off your head. That's number 4 going out there."

That's how I always felt about Kasay--that he was always going to make it.

Especially if it counted.

Stan Meihaus
Davidson

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kasay is an rare gem in todays pro sports mafioso racket ripoff. Meanwhile America goes down the tubes economically and morally due to these narcisist overpaid thug punk pro cheating pigs continuing their extortion of billions more with their unions and cable tv contracts soaking the middle class to the max.

He really needs to get out of this 4 month part time employment anyway and get a real job. Pro sports is headed to Chap 11 sooner than later although amatuers will thrive once they clean out the college ranks and go to walk ons only.

Joe Mama said...

Anonymous 8:03--

Can you share what you are smoking? You sound as nutty as Palin.

ben3412 said...

Anonymous is living proof that beer is not just for breakfast anymore.

samurai said...

I am still in shock... the commentary about Kasay pretty much says it all.

The Panthers NEED to Honor him, and they need to do it this year.

Anonymous said...

Not mentioned is Kasay is #1 in all CP biggest catagories. He is #1in total pts scored and #1 in total games won twice his nearest teamate Delhomne a distant 2nd.

Gee whiz. No hype about all that from the local Observationist media? Must be hypo syndrone and double standards as usual. Nuttin new.

Hopefully JK gets a statute in ft of BOA before sCam.

Sportsdon said...

Kasay's career was similar to Delhomme in that we hung onto him 2 years too long.

He was an excellent kicker and excellent person. That said let's keep it real as far as honoring him. A name on the ring for sure, a statue? I don't think he was that extraordinary as a player.

With Fox's timid offense he was critical as they often would settle for FG's, but there were other kickers in the league that could have done as well for us.
He was good but not hall of fame.

Smith will probably be the next statue if we can get Richardson to pay for one again.

Nickolas said...

I'm all for putting Kasay in the ring of honor but can we chill on the statue talk? I mean hes a kicker. Kickers dont get statues there are no statues of any other kickers in the league and there were alot better than Kasay. Take a step back and take the emotion out of it.

Ted G said...

WHat did Sam Mills ever do to get his statue? He was an average player but a solid person. He did get cancer and dies while an employee, but the statue was never warrented. Take it down!

Sporsdon said...

Sam was the first big free agent to come here and was the first true leader the Panthers had. He had a big impact on and off the field and if you were not here at the time it's hard to explain how his work ethic rubbed off on the team and the organization as a whole.

Sportsdon said...

Sam's cancer came after the statue...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for NOTHING in the Super Bowl Kasey

Nice guy, great kicks in normal games ...

Monumental CHOKER when it was ALL on the line in the biggest game of his career.

Dont let the screen door hit you

Anonymous said...

Thanks to John Kasay for all he's done for the Panthers and the fans. Thanks to SPC Kirby Daniel for sharing his thoughts and thanks to him and all his fellow Americans overseas for their service to the USA.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said to take down Sam mills statue needs to watch his mouth.... he was a great player, person, ance inspiration to all. Go say that in a bar in charlotte and u will get ur a$$ cut

Anonymous said...

you dont put up a statue for a stupid kicker-- WTH is wrong with all you soccer watching fake football fans?

Go eat some granola and buy some new birckenstocks you idiots

Anonymous said...

Have most of you "fans" forgotton that John Kasay is on the list of all time scoring leaders in the NFL? #8 actually, only 3 players in the top 10 and only one ahead of Kasay have cracked that list while with only 2 or fewer teams. He was to many fans, as well as players the heart behind the team. He was a leader and captain of the team for many years. Now it seems to me that a player such as that deserves a statue, if not for the statistics (which are substantial) then for what he means to this team and the people that support said team. As someone who started watching this team when i was 5 when it all began, Kasay was not just a football player, he was a role model and as someone who met him a long time ago, a great human being. The Panthers are an organization that built itself around these type of people, including greats like Sam Mills. To the few people that read this comment, take a second and really think about it, is there any better way to honor the last original and greatest panther?

-Casey Pressley
And for those who really wish to say something positive or negative email me.
caseypressley@live.com

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe these haters would object to statue of Kasay as the alltime #1 scorers and winner of twice the games as his next competitior and like a poster said was #8 leading scorer in the entire league.

Clean living family man role model for the kids all round good guy quiet hardworking did his job and BTW had it not been for Kasay the Panthers wouldnt have even been in the Super Bowl or even close.

What about the easy missed TD passes in the Bowl by Smith and Moose? Gee how quickly they forget. Kasay kicked a few FGs in the Bowl so one miss with missed blocks and a rushed kick is not bad at all.

Kasay shouldnt get a statue. He deserves a 50 foot high MONUMENT 5 times bigger than the any of the other ones who played what a year or two? Kasay is the first REAL player who earned it and wasnt given to to him.

Anonymous said...

So everyone can assume The Charlotte Observer will soon be sponsoring a gala special downtown workday noon parade in alltime #1 Carolina Panther NFL player John Kasays honor on mainstreet from Trade to the stadium complete with confetti ribbons marching band and pretty girl cheerleaders?

JD Harris (Great American) said...

I missed a chance to send Scott an email for this column, but I appreciate that he wrote it and I just want to join in to say THANK YOU JOHN KASAY! We'll miss you, and GO DAWGS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone that objects to a statue and retiring number 4 doesn't care about this team. Seriously, as so many have posted before, they don't get any more classy, professional, and humble than John Kasey. For the people that are STILL hung up on that kickoff in the SB, you didn't watch every game that year like I did (and still do), or you have a really bad memory. We wouldn't have been in the SB if it wasn't for Kasey. Remember the field goal contest in Tampa that year?? I do..

I would love to see a statue, but they better retire his number!

"just a kicker" shut up..

Anonymous said...

Typical haters. Its called FOOT ball invented by a white guy like everything else. Stop trying to hog eveything.

samurai said...

To be in the "Ring of Honor" = a statue for those who don't understand why we want to see the statue.

Kasay contribute as much, if not more than McCormick did, and he has a statue. Sam Mills and John Kasay class acts as human beings and football players. They led on and off the field. Kasay was the Special Teams Captain. Fellow players confided in him when they had "issues" to talk over. He was their teammate, their friend, their confidant. Kasay's numbers will be records for the team for probably decades to come, if not permanent until rules gets changed.

For everyone that points out the poor kickoff that preceded the Patriots game winning score, without replaying the game no one knows if they wouldn't have scored from their own 1 - they were driving almost at will on the D by that point. It was a great Super Bowl. And I agree with MR Anonymous (August 6, 2011 8:20 PM) - that Field Goal fest against Tampa that year - Epic as far as games decided by PLACE KICKERS - AKA Soccer players. TD's core the most points, but this is a TEAM game. Kasay was not the only player on the roster - and he reminded the media of that fact EVERY time he scored a game winning field goal (I would LOVE to see how many of those there were) - and yet, every time a kick sailed wide/short - and most especially that last kickoff of the Super Bowl - he hefted all of the blame upon himself - never once blaming and even sharing the blame with another player.

A Place Kicker is essential to ANY American football team. And Kasay was an ESSENTIAL member of the Carolina Panthers for the longest. He deserves a place in the "Ring of Honor" - and i for one, would love to see John Kasay's number be the first number retired for this team. (Officially Sam Mills' number has never been retired, but we have a class act for an equipment manager, and out of respect for Sam's memory he has refused to reissue it.)

Anonymous said...

Kasay stands a better than average chance of being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton and clearly no other CP can make this claim. Athletic skill is most of it but good behavior sportsmanship and integrity are in the mix.

Any who balk at a statue for Kasay is ignorant with superficial knowledge of the game and sports in general or how it is supposed to be played physically intellectually with good sportsmanship and professional demeanor.

Kasay conducted himself on and off the field with nothing but integrity and respected others equally. He deserves nothing but the best to honor his legacy.

Anonymous said...

@ Joe Mama.....Yeah Palin is a nut for loving this country, that idiot you voted in, he is as stupid as you are, friggin D'Arse

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