CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers partners have presented team owner Jerry Richardson and his family with a sculpture outside of the north gate of the team's downtown stadium.

The sculpture, designed by California artist Todd Andrews in honor of Richardson's 80th birthday, depicts Richardson presenting the gift of NFL football to the people of the Carolinas flanked by two roaring panthers.

Panthers partners Steve and Jerry Woodsworth said in a release the statue is ''a symbol of heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the Richardson family for everything they have done for us as partners, fans and the community.''

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Richardson realized his dream of bringing an NFL team to the Carolinas on Oct. 26, 1993, when the Panthers were awarded with an expansion team.

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