The 2019 Carolina Panthers training camp could be the last in Spartanburg.
Former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson had a special connection with Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His alma mater, Richardson chose the small school to host his Panthers training camp activities but a recent change in ownership could halt the tradition.
David Tepper, a Pittsburgh native and new Panthers owner since being affirmed at the NFL Owner’s meetings in late April – has stated a new indoor practice facility is in the works for a Carolina team potentially aiming to put all facilities under one roof sooner rather than later.
Carolina has multiple practice fields available outside Bank of America Stadium in downtown Charlotte but the team is forced to practice in the elements when the situation arises with no indoor practice field available. In rare circumstances coach Ron Rivera has taken his team to the Charlotte Convention Center when conditions weren’t permissible to practice outdoors.
After taking control of the team, Tepper indicated one of his primary goals was facilities and that long term it was likely the Panthers training camp would not remain at Wofford. The team and school have an agreement through the 2019 season, next year, but following Carolina could be reporting elsewhere for the first time in franchise history.
Prior to the game in Pittsburgh on Thursday, Tepper spoke with reporters and according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer he offered the following comments about the Panthers future practice facilities.
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"“Let me just say this, I will be very surprised if we aren’t playing indoors before the end of next summer, for practice somehow or another.“"
Although Tepper wouldn’t disclose anything further, such as a location, plans are undoubtedly already in the works for such a tight time frame. Having indoor facilities available prior to the start of the 2019 season would also indicate a potential change in training camp location for the 2020 season in a move that would likely house all Carolina Panthers operations in one facility, similar to NFC South divisional rival Atlanta and many other NFL teams.
The Falcons training and practice facilities are located 45 miles northeast of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where they play home games. Keeping a similar distance and maintaining ties to both Carolinas, Tepper may be eyeing something in the Rock Hill (SC) area.
Either way, it appears new facilities are on order from Tepper as he continues to place his own stamp on the franchise while guiding them into the future.