Last week I had a great discussion on Twitter with a fan about which Panthers should have their number retired. According to Wikipedia (aka - the internet), the only Panthers player to currently have his number retired is Sam Mills (#51). While Mills is the only one right now, there are a few players who should be shoo-ins to share that honor, and there are a few who are debatable.
Since we enjoy healthy debate here, why don't we open up the floor to see what everyone thinks about whose numbers should be retired by the organization?
John Kasay (#4): Sure, he's "just a kicker", but he's the best kicker we've ever had. He was also a rock for the team for 15 years, and the Panthers' kicking game has been suspect at best since he was released before the 2011 season.
Steve Smith (#89): The Rules and Regulations clearly state that 89's number will be placed in its proper place once 89 decides it's time to stop punishing opposing DB's with his deadly combo of incendiary speed and venus fly trap hands. Seriously though, he's the best WR the Panthers have ever had, and it's a no-brainer that his number will be retired when he hangs up the cleats.
There are a few players who may or may not deserve to have their numbers retired, and that's where we come in. We get to hash it out in the comments section to figure out who should and who shouldn't get the honor. From where I sit, there are five guys who can be debated, and they are listed below.
Muhsin Muhammad (#87): The second-best WR in team history might find his way in the conversation if the team can't find his replacement soon. It's not like they've been looking for it since he retired or anything...
Wesley Walls (#85): Until Greg Olsen was stolen from Chicago, Walls was the best tight end to ever suit up in a Panthers uniform. He was only with the team for six years, but in five of those years he made the Pro Bowl (and the reason he didn't make a sixth was due to injury). I'd say he's definitely in the conversation for having his number retired.
Jake Delhomme (#17): Good old Jake was arguably the best QB we ever had before we drafted Cam Newton. He may not have been the best QB in the league while he was in Carolina, but he was good enough to lead the Panthers to several playoff appearances, including their only Super Bowl.
Jordan Gross (#69): Gross is a much maligned player by Panthers fans, though some of that is undeserved. He's been protecting the blind side or Panthers QB's since 2003, and he's done an admirable job during his tenure in Carolina. He's not a shoo-in to have his number retired, but his inclusion is certainly debatable.
Julius Peppers (#90): I know what you're thinking. You're thinking of how his tenure in Carolina ended. Sure, that's a reason to say no, but before you do you should look back on the career he had in Carolina. Does it change your mind? Maybe, maybe not - but whether or not his number should be retired should be worth discussion.
I think that's a good place to start, and if any more come up in the comments we can certainly discuss them there.
Note: I didn't include guys like Cam, Kuechly, and Johnson because they haven't played long enough to justify the discussion yet. Look on the bright side - it gives us a reason to have this discussion again in the future.
So what do you think, Panthers fans? Who should have his number retired? Sound off in the comments with your thoughts!