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Jake Delhomme now a Panthers broadcaster, top horse breeder
Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme is the team’s radio broadcaster but also races horses in his home state of Louisiana. (Credit: Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

Jake Delhomme now a Panthers broadcaster, top horse breeder

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BVM) – Former NFL quarterback Jake Delhomme is one of the more recognizable players in Carolina Panthers franchise history. Though his career ended away from Charlotte, the contributions the Pro Bowl signal-caller made to the team are ones that the Panthers’ faithful won’t soon forget. While retired for 10 years, Delhomme hasn’t left his Carolina NFL roots even though he has begun excelling in other passions following his years in the game of football.

Early life and high school football

Delhomme’s journey does not begin in North Carolina, but rather in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Born into a family of horse breeders in a small town, it appeared that Delhomme’s future was set at the race track rather than the NFL. However, his game on the gridiron would prove otherwise.

As the starting quarterback and defensive back for his hometown Teurlings Catholic High School, Delhomme finished his career with 7,423 yards in total offense and 81 touchdowns completing 421-of-835 passes for 6,703 yards and 65 touchdowns as a quarterback. In his senior season, he completed 218-of-394 passes for 3,351 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 265 yards and eight touchdowns, leading his school to the state semifinals. Though he earned all-state honors for his work on the defensive side of the football, Delhomme’s future would be under center as he decided to attend the nearby University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his mom’s alma mater.

College career

While Delhomme came to the Ragin’ Cajuns as a rather unheralded and underscouted prospect, he quickly took over the reins of the program, becoming the only true freshman to start at quarterback for a Division 1 school during the 1993 season. Delhomme would go on to start 43 consecutive games for ULL over four seasons and quickly rewrote program record books.

The signal caller would lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to three winning seasons and two Big West Conference championships en route to becoming the program’s all-time passing yardage and passing touchdown leader with 9,216 and 64, respectively. He also quarterbacked the program’s biggest upset, beating mighty Texas A&M 27-22 during his senior season of 1996.

NFL career

Even though Delhomme showed a strong ability in college, he would go undrafted in the 1997 NFL Draft. Instead, Delhomme’s first NFL job would be with his home state New Orleans Saints where he signed as an undrafted free agent and was a member of the practice squad. In 1998, Delhomme would be moved to NFL Europe as a member of the Amsterdam Admirals though played sparingly as the backup quarterback to future Pro Football Hall of Famer Kurt Warner. The next season, Delhomme would again be moved to NFL Europe but with much better results as he led the Frankfurt Galaxy to the World Bowl Championship and ranked second in the league with a 96.8 quarterback rating. He completed 67.3 of his pass attempts on 136-of-202 passing for 1,410 yards and 12 touchdowns with five interceptions and added 21 rushes for 126 yards for the Galaxy.

Despite his success across the pond, Delhomme would still not be able to break through the lineup for a consistent starting role with the Saints as he finished his tenure playing in just six games with two starts from 1997-2002. He finished his New Orleans tenure with a 1-1 record, 634 passing yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions completing 50 of 86 pass attempts for a 58.1 completion percentage.

While it seemed that Delhomme would never get his chance, as a free agent in 2003 the quarterback signed with the Carolina Panthers and would change franchise history forever. In seven seasons from 2003-09, Delhomme finished his Panthers’ tenure as the franchise leader in career passing yards (19,258), passing touchdowns (120), completions (1,580), completion percentage (59.2), 300-yard passing games (11) and QB wins (53), though those have all been surpassed by Cam Newton. He is also the team’s leader in career game-winning drives with 21, setting a franchise record with seven in the 2003 season.

During his time in Charlotte, Delhomme led the Panthers to three playoff appearances, an NFC championship and a Super Bowl appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2005. He also set a Super Bowl record in his lone appearance when he completed an 85-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad against the New England Patriots.

Jake Delhomme Super Bowl XXXVIII Carolina Panthers quarterback
Delhomme set a Super Bowl record when he completed an 85-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots. (Credit: MPS/USA TODAY Sports)

After his final season with the Panthers in 2009, Delhomme would finish his NFL career with a season each on the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. Delhomme retired in 2011 with a career 56-40 record throwing for 20,975 yards, 126 touchdowns and 101 interceptions while completing 59.4% of his passes.

“I think I had fulfilled my football dreams I guess you could say,” Delhomme told the Panthers’ website. “I had been playing since the third grade, I was 37 years old when I hung it up, I had done everything I possibly could, I gave myself every chance. Did I miss it? Yes, absolutely I missed it but I still followed it, I still loved it. It wasn’t like there was some remorse or regret.”

Retirement and new passions

Following his retirement, Delhomme would return to his Louisiana roots, as a horse breeder. Working with his father and brother, both trainers, the three Delhommes breed and race horses together under the stable name Set-Hut LLC. Delhomme has been a part of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association for years, currently serving on the Board of Directors as the government affairs chair. His work is so impressive in fact that he was selected by the national Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association as its Breeder of the Year in Louisiana in 2016.

“I think I always wanted to [pursue] that,” Delhomme continued. “Listen, I didn’t grow up playing golf, hunting or fishing which most people in South Louisiana do. I grew up in a barn and I loved it. There was something about the competitive nature of the horse racing industry and racing…it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work but I love it. It’s home.”

In 2019, Delhomme would take on a new role as a radio analyst for the Panthers radio broadcast team.

“It keeps me connected to the game which I love dearly but more importantly it keeps me connected to the Panthers which I think I love more than the game,” Delhomme said. “It’s fun. It fills that competitive void for me. I love watching film preparing for the week. I love watching us play, I have the best seat in the house and I don’t get hit.”

Later that same season, Delhomme would be inducted into the team’s Hall of Honor, forever cementing his legacy as a Carolina legend.

Jake Delhomme Carolina Panthers quarterback Hall of Honor induction
Delhomme was inducted into the Panthers Hall of Honor in 2019, solidifying his spot as one of the best players to wear Carolina blue. (Credit: Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

Panthers fans can continue to hear Delhomme during games this upcoming season, where he will be joined by former tackle and fellow Hall of Honor member Jordan Gross and newly hired and former linebacker Luke Kuechly. Remaining in Charlotte as both a Panthers employee and fan, Delhomme is excited for the team’s future, especially with the recent addition of quarterback Baker Mayfield. Though Delhomme has been out of the game of football for a while now, the love of the sport is still clear even while his attention has been divided among other pursuits.

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