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Richardson bonds with Panthers during day at lake house

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Jerry Richardson had a little trouble walking up to the podium to get his award today from the Charlotte Regional Partnership.

The former NFL wide receiver and owner of the Carolina Panthers spent last weekend playing basketball and tennis with five members of his team. They also played tennis, pool and did some jet-skiing.

The 70-year-old Richardson says he hurts from his jaws to the tips of his toes.

Richardson says he wanted to have a bonding experience with his players after last season's eight-and-eight record, a year which he says, quote, "was not warm and wonderful."

So he invited quarterback Jake Delhomme, receiver Steve Smith, defensive end Julius Peppers, tackle Jordan Gross and running back DeShaun Foster to his lake house.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was the guest speaker at today's luncheon and says Richardson has done everything he can to make sure the franchise represents the community in the best possible way.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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