Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson will miss the NFL’s annual meetings in Florida this week to have shoulder surgery in Charlotte, team officials said Saturday.
It’s believed to be the second time Richardson will have missed the meetings since bringing a NFL team to the Carolinas in 1995. He was unable to attend the 2009 meetings in California less than two months after Richardson had a heart transplant.
Panthers President Danny Morrison will represent the team in Richardson’s absence in Boca Raton, according to spokesman Steven Drummond. The Carolina contingent is expected to arrive Sunday in Florida for the meetings, which will run through Wednesday.
Richardson, who will turn 80 in July, was in New York last week for a retirement party for a league official.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But this week’s meetings are the first league-wide gathering since owners voted in January to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles. Richardson was a member of the L.A. committee that recommended a plan to relocate the San Diego Chargers to a new stadium in Carson, Calif.
Instead, owners voted 30-2 in favor of moving the Rams to Inglewood, a decision that did not sit well with Richardson.
“I think it took a little steam out of him for a while,” Giants owner John Mara told the Observer in January. “He spent an enormous amount of time on that committee.”
Richardson is listed on one current committee in the annual meetings guide released by the league. He’s a member of the compensation committee with Falcons owner and committee chair Arthur Blank and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
But with the Los Angeles relocation issue mostly resolved and the league halfway through a 10-year labor agreement, the agenda for this week’s meetings is relatively light. That fact helped convince Richardson to go ahead with the shoulder surgery recommended by his doctor, according to a team official.
Richardson also has been dealing with pain in his knee. His knee pain prompted him to swing opposite-handed when he banged the Panthers’ giant Keep Pounding drum before the NFC Championship Game against Arizona.
Richardson was in California two weeks later for the team’s second Super Bowl appearance in their 21-year history.