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Jerry Richardson takes “full responsibility” for Panthers’ struggles

Jerry Richardson, Ricky Proehl

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, right, gives a ride to former Panthers player Ricky Proehl during their NFL football minicamp on Friday, April 30, 2010, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Rick Havner)


Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who keeps a very low profile, has penned a letter to the holders of Personal Seat Licenses at Bank of America Stadium in the midst of a disappointing 1-11 season.

“I know how difficult the season has been for you,” Richardson said in a copy of the letter obtained by Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette. “As the person ultimately responsible for putting a team on the field, I take full responsibility for our shortfalls. It is agonizing that we have not performed at the level we had planned for and expected.”

At a time when many believe it’s a foregone conclusion that coach John Fox won’t return in 2011, Richardson promised generally to evaluate the entire operation.

“I want all of you to know that we plan to look at every aspect of our organization,” Richardson wrote. “What we do in the future will entirely be geared toward putting the best possible team on the field. I am committed to fielding a winning team, and I’m willing to invest the resources necessary to make it happen.”

Plenty of Panthers fans would take issue with that last statement. If anything, it appears that Richardson has tightened the belt. And there’s a growing belief that, when it’s time to hire a new head coach, Richardson will refuse to dish out the kind of money that would attract a guy like Bill Cowher.

And so it could be that the Panthers are destined to perform over the next few years like the baseball team in the city where Cowher used to coach. Successful on the balance sheet, unsuccessful in the standings.