Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith will connect one more time as Carolina Panthers. The team plans to induct Delhomme and Smith into its Hall of Honor along with offensive tackle Jordan Gross and tight end Wesley Walls. They will join linebacker Sam Mills, who had been the only player honoured by the 25-year-old franchise. New owner David Tepper said the additions were "long overdue."
"I mean, to have one player in the Hall of Honor after 25 years? It was time," Tepper told Carolinapanthers.com. "It was past due time. One year in, when I got to know a little more about the team, a little more about history, I think it was the right time." Smith is one of the most recognizable players in franchise history for his 13 years with the Panthers. Tepper called Smith via FaceTime, as he did the other three players, to let him know he would be inducted. Smith had 836 catches for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns with the Panthers and finished his career with the Baltimore Ravens.
Delhomme played 11 seasons in the NFL and seven with the Panthers, including the 2003 season that ended in a heartbreaking Super Bowl XXXVIII loss to the New England Patriots on Adam Vinatieri's game-winner in Houston. He passed for 19,258 yards and 120 TDs with Carolina. Gross played his entire 11-year career with the Panthers. Walls played 14 seasons, seven of them in Carolina.
(With inputs from agencies.)