When people think of the position of kicker on the football field – well, people don’t really think about the kicker. Kickers are usually an afterthought. Nobody is rushing out to buy the kicker’s jersey. Kickers are the last position picked in fantasy football drafts, and analysts aren’t breaking down the kicking game in the pre-game run-through. Most of the time kickers are the scapegoats for missing wide left or wide right and not sealing the win. Kickers are rarely suggested as hall of fame or ring of honor inductees, but that is exactly what I am suggesting. John Kasay should be the next player put into the Panthers Hall of Honor.
Last week Kasay sent a letter to the Charlotte Observer addressing the Carolina Panthers fans. The letter had nothing but praise and well wishes for the organization Kasay called home for 16 years. Kasay proclaimed, “It is my hope that the greatest years in Panthers history are still to come. A franchise decorated with numerous Lombardi Trophies. Dozens of Hall of Fame players. And a region that swells with pride whenever they speak of their beloved Panthers.” This is quite a statement from someone who was released from the team approximately a month ago. In an age where greedy or prima donna NFL players such as Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Albert Haynesworth, and the defensive end in Chicago(I still refuse to write his name) are the norm, Kasay is a class act.
When I have lost jobs for whatever reason in the past, I never once wanted to write a letter telling that workplace how much I enjoyed my time there and how I wished them the best in the future. Now, granted, the NFL is a little different from the local super market I used to bag groceries at in high school, but you get the idea. People simply don’t like losing their job. Kasay knows how to rise above things and look at the good. This is a quality I could stand to learn myself, but fortunately we aren’t here to fix me.
In 1997 the Panthers established the Hall of Honor. Since then there have been three inductees: Mike McCormack, Sam Mills, and the PSL owners. Without a shadow of a doubt, John Kasay should be the next inductee. Kasay was one of the original Panthers, and his resume boasts a Pro Bowl appearance, team records (including the all-time points leader), and even NFL records for kicking. Stats aren’t the only reason he deserves this honor – he was and is well respected by his peers and teammates. A veteran leader in the locker room and a huge supporter in the community, John Kasay is the type of athlete people should look up to.
I rarely ever want to wear a jersey of a player who no longer plays for the Panthers (Side note: I have Delhomme, Keyshawn Johnson, Dan Morgan, and number 90 jerseys available for sale and priced to move), but I am going to actively seek out a Kasay number 4. I’d love to wear it to a few games this season, and I hope to wear it the day the Panthers put Kasay in the Hall of Honor.