Dec 9, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tackle Jordan Gross (69) comes on to the field before the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers Hall of Honor: Why So Empty?

Ignore the Dark Knight reference, I watched it today and it literally has been on my mind for a good period of the day! Now on to the story!

The Panthers Hall of Honor, or known by its official title, “The Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor”, is home to three recipients, all of which have been immortalized by their own personal statues. The Hall of Honor was created in 1997 to, “honor individuals for their outstanding contributions to the Carolina Panthers”, which is the official statement given to the Hall on the Panthers official website. Like I said earlier, the Hall is home to only two actual people, and one large, symbolic group. Mike McCormack was inducted at the Hall’s inception and Sam Mills was inducted in 1998, both have been immortalized with bronze statues outside the stadium. The other inductee is the PSL owners, inducted in 2004, and immortalized by the names on the outsides of the Panther statues themselves that surround the perimeter of the stadium.  But recently, I have realized that the Hall has been quite empty, something that sort of shocks me, given the caliber of outstanding human beings that have played for the team.

Obviously most of you are thinking I’m going to suggest John Kasay, and I am to an extent. But I think that there are some more deserving Panthers, past and present that deserve the recognition and prestige that comes with the Panthers Hall of Honor.

While John Kasay was huge to the Panthers organization and to the fan-base, two players, who played alongside him in the Super Bowl campaign, are definitely more deserving of the honor, those two players being Mike Rucker and Mike Minter. Both players have done all they could for the Charlotte community, often teaming up with each other to reach their goals. Their story is great, teammates at Nebraska and in the NFL, and at any “former Panther appearance” event, either Mike Rucker or Mike Minter is in attendance. Both players are more than deserving to be initiated into the Hall of Honor, and I will be advocating for them.

Dec 9, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) runs after making a catch against the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Two players on the current roster who deserve to be in the hall are Steve Smith and Jordan Gross. Both players are seeing age catch up with them, so it would seem that it is only natural that both players are thinking about their legacy. Their legacies are already golden in my book, Panthers through their entire careers and always doing their best for the community. Both players have youth football camps, and most of the Panther charity events have either the Gross or Smith name plastered over everything. Both are great players and will always be remembered, but I feel like they deserve the next step in remembrance.

As always, please leave your thoughts and comments below.

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