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Rivera Clears Out His Panthers' Closet In A Yard Sale For Happy Fans

How much stuff do you accumulate over nine years?

Everyday life has a way of throwing lots of papers, knick-knacks and clothing at us over time. It adds up.

Now imagine you’re an NFL head coach who gets lots of free T-shirts, jackets and shoes, all with the team logo on them. After nine years, it really adds up.

Which is why Ron Rivera decided to have a yard sale Saturday.

Credit Jodie Valade / WFAE
Ron and Stephanie Rivera's dog Sierra was adopted from the Humane Society of Charlotte.

The former Panthers head coach was hired by the Washington Redskins after spending nine seasons in Charlotte, and he doesn’t have much need for his Panthers-blue gear anymore. So he decided to sell most of it – with the proceeds going to the Humane Society of Charlotte. That’s an organization he supported during his time in the city, and where he adopted one of his dogs, Sierra.

Three thousand people showed up just for a chance to snag one of more than 1,000 items Rivera and his wife, Stephanie, donated. Rivera said he was happy to give a range of items that went for $5 to more than $200 each. Former linebacker Luke Kuechly and tight end Greg Olsen also donated personal items to be sold.

"We've got a couple of things from our London trip," Rivera said. "We got a couple things from Super Bowl 50 and a couple of my T-shirts that I wore personally -- that I got from Cam (Newton) and then the one I got from Greg Olsen, as well. They're over there and, and I think they're pretty unique items."

Stephanie Rivera said she had the idea for the yard sale when the wife of Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid told her they raised almost $30,000 with a similar event when they moved from Philadelphia after 13 years there.

"She said, 'Don't just throw it away; give it to a charity and let them have a yard sale,'" Stephanie Rivera said. "So I said, 'I think I know exactly who can benefit from this.' And so we decided the Humane Society is the place to be."

line of people
Credit Jodie Valade / WFAE
The line of people waiting to get into the Humane Society's yard sale stretched the length of Toomey Avenue in west Charlotte.

The Humane Society is in the final push to raise $15 million for a new facility, and they raised $30,257 Saturday toward that as the line of people for Rivera’s discarded Panthers stuff stretched down the road.

Credit Jodie Valade / WFAE
Items that Chris Leopard picked up at Ron Rivera's yard sale at the Humane Society -- including a jacket the former Panthers head coach wore during the 2016 playoffs.

Chris Leopard drove three hours from Franklin, North Carolina, hoping that he might find a jacket that Rivera wore during the NFC Championship game in 2016. He was one of the first people in line – and spied exactly what he was looking for. It cost $150, but it was worth it.

"It was just something that kind of was on my radar, I was hoping it was here," he said, displaying the $210-worth of items he was about to purchase. "It just kind of reminds me of that season when they went to the Super Bowl."

Donna Stucker is Humane Society of Charlotte’s vice president of philanthropy and worked to set up the event in just a two-week span.

It was a fast turnaround, but it was enough time to gather a bunch of gear from the Riveras so that they were a bit stunned when they first walked into the Humane Society on Saturday.

"Wow, we really didn't realize how much we gave you," they said.

"Is it weird to see your stuff just hanging around here?" Stucker said in reply.

"They really didn't realize how much they accumulated," Stucker said. "But I guess that goes for most of us, right? It's when you move you realize how much you have."

Ron Rivera and dog Tahoe
Credit Jodie Valade / WFAE
The Riveras' dog Tahoe waits patiently for Ron Rivera to sign autographs and for the yard sale to finish.

Ron and Stephanie Rivera were just happy to have a chance to give back to the community that embraced them for nine years.

"The community’s been so good us, we wanted to make sure we gave back and gave back as many ways as we could," Rivera said.

They also wanted to clear out nine years worth of stuff.

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