The move stunned and angered fans because Hoover, who played high school and college football in North Carolina, was a fan favorite. He had spent 10 seasons with the Panthers and was a steady performer throughout that time.
But the highlight of Hoover’s career came in his rookie year when injuries forced him to move to tailback. In a “Monday Night Football’’ game against Green Bay, Hoover rushed for 117 yards and prompted the classic line (“Nice Move by The Hoov’’) from Dennis Miller.
Hoover’s release by the Panthers initially didn’t sit well with him or with many of his teammates. Hoover thought he still had something left in the tank. But he never signed anywhere else.
The relationship between the Panthers thawed considerably in 2011 when he agreed to travel to New York and announce the selection of one of the team’s draft picks.