Thousands of Americans rummage through yard sales every weekend in the hopes of finding hidden gems, but one NFL fan stumbled upon an NFL treasure.
A diehard Carolina Panthers supporter found a Super Bowl playbook from his beloved NFL franchise in bags earmarked for the dumpster. And that's not all he unearthed on his shopping adventure. Matt Rowell told NewsChannel 36 he found sensitive financial information from star players -- as well as former Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins' size 16 cleats.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme led the 2003 Panthers to an 11-5 regular-season record and a playoff run which ended with New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri's 41-yard game-winning field goal in Super Bowl 38.
So Rowell kept the loot for posterity, right? Nope. Fearing the eight-year-old playbook could hurt his favorite team should it fall into enemy hands, Rowell made a phone call to the Panthers to return the goods.
"I enjoyed it for a week," he told the TV station. "I was like, you know what, this really belongs more to the fans than it does to me or for me selling it, because if I were to sell it on Craigslist or eBay or wherever, then that person may then sell it to the Falcons or to the Saints. It's just stuff that you can't, as a die hard fan you just can't do that."
The 26-year-old did hold onto Jenkins' 2004 Super Bowl locker nameplate and kept a Pro Bowl playbook he discovered. Considering how little effort the players put out in Hawaii, chances are pretty good Rowell was the first person to actually read it.
Jenkins played in the NFL from 2001 until 2010 with the Panthers and Jets. The nose tackle appeared in four Pro Bowls but the 2004 Super Bowl was his only appearance in the big game.
No word yet on how the Panthers reacted to the fan's noble gesture.
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