It’s unclear how tight of a ship 8-year-old Jack Bolton ran during his day as honorary coach of the Carolina Panthers, but it’s clear he made his presence known at the Panthers’ facility this past Saturday.
As part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bolton signed a one-day contract to be Carolina’s associate head coach with compensation coming in the form of hot dogs and drinks. Translation: a substantial sum.
As the video from the team’s website shows, Bolton, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and needs a motorized chair to move around, spent the day with Panther big shots like general manager Dave Gettleman, veteran wide receiver Steve Smith (who jokingly demanded Bolton to have more plays run for him), coach Ron Rivera and, of course, quarterback Cam Newton.
When he first met the team, they gave him a standing ovation.
After practice, Newton asked and received Bolton’s autograph before draping his cleats around his chair.
But Bolton gave back, too.
Before the team took the field, Rivera read a pep talk that his new associate head coach had written on note cards. Bolton writes: “For the rest of the (season) I’ll either be in the stands or watching you on TV. But just because I’m not watching from the field doesn’t mean you can goof off.” Courtesy of of the team site, you can see the full letter below:
From the looks of it, the Panthers won’t be goofing off any time soon in 2013.
Coach Rivera and his staff now have an additional set of eyes and ears on the team.