SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- On the final Sunday of training camp, the Panthers are more than ready to make their return to Charlotte.
There’s an excitement around the first day of Panthers training camp, and an anticipation around the final day. But for Jeff Liner, the last day is the worst day.
If you’ve been to the Panthers training camp at Wofford, you’ve probably noticed Liner. He’s right at the entrance and exit of every practice, wearing a white Panthers security shirt with his nickname, “Slick Daddy” printed on the back.
“Wofford called me Slick, and then Jake Delhomme picked it up, and Cam Newton called me Slick Daddy,” Liner explained.
He’s a 53-year-old who’s become a fixture at the Panthers’ camp. He started working for Wofford in 1989. The Charles Lea Center, a group that helps individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or chronic medical conditions helped get him a job in food services. But when the Panthers came for their first training camp at Wofford, his role during camp changed.
“They tell me, ‘You want to be in security?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ So I came here to security,” Liner explained.
He worked with the team during those few weeks every year since then.
On move in day, star players like Greg Olsen stop to greet Liner on their way in.
“Slick Daddy!,” Olsen said as he arrived at camp this year. “Good to see you Slick! How you been buddy?” Olsen asked as he went to give Liner a hug.
He’s not just a well-known, friendly face on the staff though. He’s also a fan, but the thing about Slick is that the feeling is mutual.
As the Panthers players and coaches walk into and out of practice, he sticks out a fist to try and fist bump as many as possible.
“I give them a Keep Pounding!” he explains.
From Julius Peppers to Marty Hurney and Kawann Short, Liner greets every player and the smile is reciprocated.
“He loves everything about this. It’s really kind of cool having a young man around that really enjoys it that much,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said.
For Slick, it’s a whirlwind of few weeks that he wishes lasted much longer. Because on the final Sunday of training camp, his countdown until next year begins.
“I miss them [when they leave]” Liner said.