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'It was past due time:' Panthers announce 4 names in Hall of Honor expansion

Panthers owner David Tepper said "it's the right time" to expand the Hall of Honor.
Credit: Associated Press
(L-R): Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith, Wesley Walls, and Jordan Gross will be added to the Carolina Panthers' Hall of Honor in 2019.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers announced four new names to its Hall of Honor Monday, including three players on Carolina's first Super Bowl team in 2003. 

The honorees were:

Quarterback Jake Delhomme 

Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme (17) is shown during an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

Delhomme led the Panthers to Super Bowl 38 in 2003. He passed for 19,258 yards and 120 touchdowns for Carolina. 

Offensive Tackle Jordan Gross 

Credit: AP
FILe - In this Dec. 1, 2013 file photo, Carolina Panthers tackle Jordan Gross (69) runs onto the field during player introductions prior to an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Charlotte, N.C. The Panthers say that Gross will announce his retirement at a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

Jordan Gross spent his entire 11-year career with the Panthers, beginning in 2003. He was named to three Pro Bowls and was a First Team All-Pro in 2008. He started 167 games for the Panthers. 

Wide Receiver Steve Smith 

OCTOBER 24: Steve Smith #89 of the Carolina Panthers warms up during a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Steve Smith spent 13 years with the Panthers beginning in 2001. In 182 games with Carolina, Smith caught 836 passes for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns. He retired after the 2016 season after three years with Baltimore. Steve and his family still live in Charlotte where his foundation helps victims of domestic violence in the Carolinas.

Tight End Wesley Walls 

Credit: AP
Carolina Panthers tight end Wesley Walls scores a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Chris Weinke in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at 3COM Park in San Francisco, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2001. (AP Photo/John Todd)

Wesley Walls came to the Panthers from New Orleans in 1996. In seven seasons with Carolina, Walls had 324 receptions for 44 touchdowns and was named to five Pro Bowls. 

Those four will join Panthers legend Sam Mills, PSL owners and original general manager Mike McCormack. The Panthers announced the 2019 class will be inducted during a game this season. 

“It’s something that was so overdue,” Tepper said of expanding the team’s Hall of Honor. “I mean, to have one player in the Hall of Honor after 25 years? It was time. It was past due time. One year in, when I got to know a little more about the team, a little more about the history, I think it was the right time.”

One notable name not on the list was Julius Peppers, who retired after the 2018-19 season. Panthers reporter Bill Voth said the idea of adding players to the Hall of Honor began while Peppers was still playing, so he was never considered for the group. 

The Panthers said that Tepper personally called each individual on FaceTime so he could get their reaction to the news. Their names will be displayed in the upper bowl like current honorees at Bank of America Stadium and each player was measured for a bronze bust.