For many years, Americans have trusted the words of the autobiography of a man named after the founder of the KKK. But some Carolina Panthers know the truth. Forrest Gump murdered Jenny Curran. The world believed the story of the con-artist, commie, racist killer from his own words on the bench. But some on the Carolina Panthers knew better and it gives them motivation sometimes. Sometimes, however, it gives them perspiration.
Sam Mills, who knows a thing or two about getting a good read on people, was the first to address his concerns about Forrest Gump in 1995 to the Carolina Panthers.
"Whatever you do, do not let that maniac into (then-called) Ericsson Stadium. You never know who he will strike next."
When Jerry Richardson almost hired Forrest back in the ‘90s to mow the field, the advice given from Mr. Gump to dig about six feet of grass in a few sections made the owner nervous.
"Something was off about that guy," Jerry Richardson later said. "He scared the Bojangles out of me. He always talked about how much he loved his Mama and Jenny and that was sweet. But when he talked about them as people, he always mentioned all these terrible details about them. His mother messed around with the school staff and he never shut up about how terrible Jenny was. When I asked how she died, he subtly decided to change the subject about his desire to run. Then he gave me a demonstration. He was pretty fast too."
When Kerry Collins’ jaw was broken in a preseason game, he looked and was relieved to see the smiling face of Bill Romanowski.
"When I saw all that blood flying above my head and how fast he hit me, I thought Forrest was taking me to my grave. If my mouth wasn’t broken, I would have kissed Bill on the cheek for not being Forrest Gump. You just never know when he’s going to strike, man."
Forrest Gump never was caught or charged for any of his crimes. Although he was brought before two Presidents and one experience made him go pee. That President was later shot and it is widely believed they got the wrong guy. The other President was soon met in disgrace not long after Forrest Gump was trying to speak in a military-like uniform (not unlike Mussolini or Saddam) before an angry crowd. In that speech, Forrest’s microphone was silenced, saving America from being misled by a Commie dictator.
"Out of all the ghosts I’ve seen in my life," Sam Darnold said. "Jenny Curran was the saddest and most terrified."
"Do you mean terrifying?"
"No. She was scared. Ever since her childhood, Jenny was trying to get as far away from Forrest Gump as possible. He kept getting faster and faster, even when they put metal braces on his legs to keep an eye on him, she still feared. She had to several high schoolers to protect her from him. They wouldn’t do it unless she bought them a truck to protect them too and help them escape."
"Dom Capers used to tell us these important life lessons," Mike Minter said. "One of the most important I remember is when he told us that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know when Forrest Gump is going to come and take yours."
"Do you remember Will Weatherspoon?" former defensive tackle Kris Jenkins asked. "No you don’t. Forrest Gump happened to that guy. He disappeared. For a while, people believed he was playing football still in St. Louis. He was not. He was not. The guy knew seven languages but couldn’t talk to the police about Forrest Gump."
"I know he lied about so many things," Thomas Davis recollected. "I’ve messed up my leg. But how does a guy who grew up supposedly with this birth defect about his legs manage to join the US military and then run fast enough to survive an aerial attack in Vietnam? I don’t know if it was stolen valor or that he lied about his disability. Either way, and I’m a good family man, but that guy is a terrible person."
He talked about his mother giving attention to other men at night. He talked about Jenny giving attention to everyone but him. He even talked about the attention he didn’t get from the two girls he met on New Year’s Eve with Lieutenant Dan.
"He acts like nobody paid attention to him and that was true," Kevin Greene said. "Everyone was trying to get away from him. That guy was a menace. I became friends with Dwight Stone because I knew Dwight was a cop. I wanted to keep my distance too. Only God knows what really happened to Lieutenant Dan’s legs."
"I have an idea of what happened to Lieutenant Dan’s legs," Jake Delhomme said. "Let’s just say when you’re out in the bayous, and you’ve seen your share of shrimp boats, you usually see the shrimp boat guys in the bait shops. I’ve seen Forrest many times. But not once do I recall ever seeing him buy any bait."
Jake Delhomme warned the Carolina Panthers about Forrest Gump’s love for football and blood. After drafting DeAngelo Williams in 2006, the team was urged to draft another running back in the first round only two years later.
"They were afraid Gump might kill DeAngelo," John Fox admitted. "So we wanted to make sure we had some insurance in our running game."
Even today, the fear of Forrest Gump strikes into the Carolina Panthers. Christian McCafferey imagines Forrest Gump is chasing him whenever he holds the football.
"My Dad always warned me about him," Christian said with wide eyes. "He told me about how Forrest used to talk to John Lennon about a more communist-like world. But John Lennon was too peaceful about it. Not long after that, well Forrest himself told you the story. Someone shot him too."
Greg Olsen was volunteering at the Levine Children’s Hospital when he saw Forrest Gump once yelling at the staff. He recalled Gump telling the staff that he’s the reason the hospital is able to stay busy. They didn’t have any record of him donating any money to the place though.
According to Olsen, Forrest replied, "I never said I donated money."
Some Carolina Panthers are more willing to reserve judgment on Forrest Gump. Part of the reason is because they don’t know him. Part of the reason is because they don’t want to know him.
"There are three things I know about Forrest Gump," Charles Johnson said. "He deflated footballs for Tom Brady. He turned the lights off at the Super Bowl. He likes to take his boat out on Lake Minnetonka. Other than that, I don’t know the guy. You hear that, Forrest? I don’t know you! Please bring my family home safely."
"Don’t let him trick you," Jack Del Rio said. "He plays dumb. But he’s smart. His own drill sergeant said his IQ was like a hundred and fifty. He went into the military knowing he was a born killer."
Not all of the Carolina Panthers agreed with the perception laid on Forrest Gump. Former General Manager David Gettleman found him to be charming.
"He took me to a vacation in Houston one week. He gave me a tour of the Texans office and picked up the phone to call the Arizona Cardinals. Then he traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals and started laughing. Good times. But he was smart too. If it wasn’t for Forrest Gump’s advice, I would never have handled the Josh Norman situation the way I did."
Forrest Gump may be a smart man. But one thing the Carolina Panthers know is that he doesn’t know what love is.