The Carolina Panthers have halted their search for a new head coach after 25-year old Charlotte FC player Anton Walkes was killed in a boating accident in South Florida on Wednesday, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. This means former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s scheduled meeting with Panthers owner David Tepper in New York City on Friday has been postponed to a later date, which will extend his process in interviewing for head coach jobs around the league.
Tepper owns both the Panthers and Charlotte FC pro soccer club, and he’s taking this time to grieve with his players, employees, and family. Walkes, born in London, played in 23 games for Charlotte FC during their 2022 season. Tepper released a statement from the team website on Thursday:
“Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes. He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met. Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time. The Club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning.”
We’d like to extend our condolences to Walkes’ family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. May his memory be a blessing.