Jerry Richardson, the founder and former owner of the Carolina Panthers died at the age of 86 on Wednesday night, the team announced. The team did not reveal the cause of death.
“Jerry Richardson’s contributions to professional football in the Carolinas are historic,” Panthers owners David and Nicole Tepper said Thursday in a statement released on the team’s website.
Richardson owned the team since its inception in 1993 until 2018, when Tepper purchased the Panthers for more than $2.2 billion.
In December of 2017, Richardson announced that he was putting the Panthers up for sale in the wake of an investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against him
Richardson was the 154th player selected in the 1958 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. However, he retired following his second season in the league over a money dispute and returned to Spartanburg, South Carolina where he started a career in business.
Richardson became the first former NFL player to own a team since George Halas when the league awarded Carolina a franchise in 1993. The Panthers inaugural season was in 1995.
Under Richardson, the Panthers reached two Super Bowls and three NFC title games.
Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. Photo courtsey of The Wrap