2013 NFL Offseason: John Kasay to retire a Carolina Panther

Farewell, John. You will be missed. - Streeter Lecka

Former Panthers kicker John Kasay is expected to sign a one day contract today and officially retire a Carolina Panther, the Charlotte Observer reports.

According to Panthers beat writer Joe Person, former Panthers kicker John Kasay will announce his retirement from football this afternoon after signing a one day contract with Carolina.

The longtime kicker, a member of the franchise's inaugural 1995 team who played 15 seasons in Carolina, is expected to sign a one-day contract Tuesday before making his retirement official.

The Panthers are hosting a retirement reception for Kasay at Bank of America Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

Panthers fans will always remember Kasay as being one of the "Original Panthers", and at the time he was released prior to the 2011 season he was the only remaining Original Panther on the roster. As the Panthers' placekicker for 15 years, he is the franchise leader in games played and points scored, and he holds all the team's kicking records. Kasay's 15 seasons in Carolina, spanning from 1995-2010, were between two other stops in his 21 year career. He spent the first four years of his career in Seattle and his final year in New Orleans before deciding to officially retire after not playing for any team during the 2012 season.

John Kasay will always be a fan favorite in Charlotte, and if you need any evidence of that just take a few moments and read this piece from Scott Fowler, written August 5, 2011. I'm not going to quote all of the stories Fowler shared, but I will share one that to me best sums up how fans feel about what Kasay meant to the Panthers family.

This was in 1996 at the first fan appreciation day. When they finally finished with their 7-on-7 drills, most of the players jogged off the field waving at the fans.... Walking next to Kerry Collins was this very young player. I thought maybe he was a walk-on. He was wearing the number 4. He turned to the security guard, asked him something and then he jogged over to the wall. He then climbed the wall, with a little help from the guard, and then, very calmly asked everyone to line up in single file, and he would sign autographs and take pictures.

Kids were lined up the as far as you could see, getting all excited at thought of finally meeting a real football player. I was standing in front of John Kasay as he politely talked to each person, and answered their questions. I asked John after 90 minutes, how much longer was he going to do this, he looked up and said, "As long as it takes to meet every person here."

I highly recommend that you read the entire Fowler piece. There are a lot of good memories there.

As for what Kasay plans to do post-retirement, well he already has a job. He was recently named the Athletic Director of Charlotte Christian, a small Christian school where two of his four children attend. He will officially assume his new position with Charlotte Christian on July 1st.

He's the kind of man you want your son to grow up to be - a man, who even though he shined in the spotlight, dared not allow that spotlight to take away his humility, grace, and kindness towards others.

The Panthers will honor Kasay with a reception today at Bank of America Stadium, but for now that's most likely going to be all the organization does to honor his career. According to Person's article, the Panthers have a five year policy on inducting players into the Hall of Honor. That means the earliest we will see Kasay inducted will be 2018, but you can bet your bottom dollar that he will be there as soon as he is eligible.

At this point I'm really struggling to find words to say about John Kasay, because he's a man who transcends kind words. He's the kind of man you want your son to grow up to be - a man, who even though he shined in the spotlight, dared not allow that spotlight to take away his humility, grace, and kindness towards others. John Kasay was, is, and will always be a Carolina Panther, and we as Panthers fans are fortunate to have been able to share some of his best (and worst) moments throughout his illustrious career.

John, I think I speak for all of Panthers Nation when I say this: from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you did for us, and thank you for being a Carolina Panther.

Please feel free to use this comments section to share your thoughts about John Kasay and what his retirement as a Carolina Panther means to you.

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