NFL Draft

Panthers owner David Tepper stops into restaurant over draft sign

Tepper walked into a restaurant that had a Panthers draft message outside just hours before the event began


Scroll down to watch the encounter

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While the Carolina Panthers' front office was gearing up for the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday, owner David Tepper was making a draft-related pit stop.

A sign outside of Dilworth Neighborhood Grille in Charlotte drew Tepper in, as it was seemingly a direct message to him:

"Please let the coach and GM pick this year."

Restaurant owner Matt Wohlfarth shared surveillance footage with WBTV in Charlotte showing Tepper walk in, talk to a manager and take the manager's hat off. Wohlfarth, who claimed responsibility for the sign, told WTBV that Tepper took the man's hat off because it was a Philadelphia Eagles hat.

Tepper can be seen laughing in the video and the manager said Tepper was pleasant about the situation.

Check out the encounter.

Tepper has developed a reputation for having a temper. He was fined $300,000 in January for "unacceptable conduct" after a video appeared to show him throwing a drink into the crowd during the Panthers' road loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When it comes to restaurants specifically, here's a quote from Tepper that was included in a 2010 New York Magazine feature:

“Sometimes, if someone is an a------, like a waiter at a restaurant, I think, I could just buy this place and fire that guy.

Wohlfarth's sign was a sentiment many Panthers fans felt entering the 2024 draft after seeing the fallout of the team's 2023 draft decisions.

Carolina acquired the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft from the Bears while shipping out the 2023 No. 9 overall pick, a 2023 second-rounder, a 2024 first-rounder, a 2025 second-rounder and wide receiver D.J. Moore to Chicago. The Panthers went on to select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and finish with a league-worst 2-15 record in 2023, gifting the Bears this year's No. 1 overall pick on a silver platter. Chicago used that pick on another Heisman Trophy winner, USC quarterback Caleb Williams, Thursday night.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported in November that Tepper made the decision to draft Young over Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud last spring and that other Panthers staffers fell in line to avoid causing trouble.

Looking ahead, Wohlfarth said he believes Tepper has started to take steps to improve as an owner.

"Everything I’ve heard this year leads me to believe that he is taking that to heart," Wohlfarth said when asked if he stood behind his sign, "I just want to make sure."

As for Tepper's team, the Panthers traded into the first round late Thursday night, moving from No. 33 overall to No. 32 in a deal with the Buffalo Bills and taking South Carolina receiver Xavier Legette.

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