With owner sidelined, Panthers to operate as usual

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Even as he recovers from a heart transplant, I'm guessing Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson will stay relatively active with the team he founded.

With the team facing one of its biggest decisions ever (what to do with defensive end Julius Peppers, who has said he wants out of Carolina), I'm certain Richardson's wishes will play a role in what the team does. You can bet he weighed in on this matter before the surgery and may be consulted again.

Richardson has been one of the most active owners in the NFL since the Panthers began play in 1995, but his convalescence isn't going to cripple the franchise. His sons long have been heavily involved in the team. Mark Richardson runs the business side of things and oversees the football side, although coach John Fox and general manager Marty Hurney make most of those decisions. Jon Richardson runs Bank of America Stadium.

Mark Richardson and Jon Richardson have essentially run the day-to-day operations for years and consulted with their father on important decisions. Although the senior Richardson faces a long recovery, I don't anticipate things will change much. He'll still be in the loop on major decisions and will try to ease his way back into an active role.