Awaiting heart transplant, Richardson attends Panthers game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina owner Jerry Richardson, who is awaiting a heart transplant, attended Sunday's game between his Panthers and the Denver Broncos.

The 72-year-old owner was told this week during a hospital stay related to the recent installation of a pacemaker that he needs a transplant. He was placed on a donor waiting list.

In spite of his health, he was in a front row seat Sunday in his open-air suite at Bank of America Stadium. He appeared to be covered in a black and blue Panthers blanket.

Richardson, who missed Monday night's 38-23 win over division rival Tampa Bay, is the first former NFL player since George Halas to own a team. He and his two sons worked for years to get an NFL expansion team, a prospect at one time thought impossible for Charlotte.

The former Baltimore Colts receiver, who caught the winning touchdown pass from Johnny Unitas in the 1959 NFL championship game, was awarded the expansion Panthers in 1993. The team began play two years later and Richardson has become an influential owner in the league, serving on powerful committees and being on the negotiating team on the league's collective bargaining agreement with the players union.