American Football Database
Jerry Richardson
No. 87     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1936-07-11) July 11, 1936 (age 86)
Place of birth: Spring Hope, North Carolina
Career information
College: Wofford College
NFL Draft: 1958 / Round: 13 / Pick: 154
Debuted in 1959 for the [[{{{debutteam}}}]]
Last played in 1960 for the [[{{{finalteam}}}]]
Career history

As Player

As Owner

Career highlights and awards
Receptions     15
Receiving Yards     171
Total Touchdowns     4
Stats at

Jerry Richardson (born July 11, 1936 in Spring Hope, North Carolina) is the current majority owner and founder of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League.


After a brief playing career with the Baltimore Colts, Richardson opened the first Hardee's franchise in 1961 under Spartan Foods. The business expanded rapidly, under his hands-on management style. He later rose to CEO of Flagstar, controlling 2,500 restaurants and 100,000 employees, and retired in 1995.[1]

A lifelong resident of the Carolinas, Richardson's dream was to bring NFL football to his home region.

On October 26, 1993, Richardson became the first former NFL player since George Halas to become an owner when the Carolina Panthers were unanimously awarded the NFL's 29th franchise.

Richardson is well known for his calm and businesslike approach, and has played a prominent role in negotiations between the NFL and NFL players. [2] His relationship with his players, coupled with his position, have given rise to the nickname "The Big Cat".[3]

Personal life

Richardson was hospitalized in Charlotte at Carolinas Medical Center in early December 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker. Richardson, who had a history of heart trouble and had undergone quadruple bypass surgery in 2002,[4] was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart two days later. He received a new heart on February 1, 2009 and he has recovered from the transplant.[5]


  1. Jerry Richardson. Retrieved on 2012-04-19.
  2. Jerry Richardson Tribute. Retrieved on 2012-04-19.
  3. Jaxon (2009-08-13). "This is what makes the Panther Franchise Unique: The Big Cat". Cat Scratch Reader. Retrieved 2012-07-30.
  4. Mike Cranston Panthers owner Richardson needs heart transplant. Associated Press
  5. Carolina Panthers Owner Has Heart Transplant ESPN, February 2, 2009

External links