Jonathan Stewart, the Carolina Panthers career rushing leader released by the team this week, posted his thanks on social media on Friday to the Panthers organization and fans “for an amazing 10 years!”
“Grateful to God for the many blessings he’s given me and my family through the panther organization and the Charlotte community!” Stewart tweeted and posted on Instagram. “Thank you panther nation for all of the love over the years! I will always #KeepPounding.”
The emotional response to his tweet was immediate, with hundreds of fans, Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson and the city of Charlotte replying with their thanks to Stewart.
The city of Charlotte included a GIF of a boy reacting with disappointment to some news, followed by the hashtag KeepPounding.
“Missing a great person but an even better leader!” Thompson tweeted.
The Panthers had tweeted their “Thank you Stew” on Wednesday, which Stewart retweeted.
By 9 p.m Friday, Stewart’s tweet had been retweeted 1,200 times and received 6,000 likes.
Scores of fans told Stewart how much they admire him and how he’ll be missed.
“You always made time for your fans,” Tim Calkins tweeted. “We had the chance to meet you and you so gracious with your time. Great Panther, better man. God bless and we will miss you.”
Stewart became the franchise’s career rushing leader in 2017, finishing with 7,318 rushing yards. His 1,699 rushing attempts are also the most in franchise history, while his 58 touchdowns (51 rushing, seven receiving) are second in franchise history.
“Jonathan played the game the way you want,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “He brought an element of toughness as a runner that set the tempo for our team. He is a great pro, and I appreciate who he is as a young man and thank him for the contribution he made.”