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Panthers DT Kyle Love helps make 'Coach Jack's' dream a reality

Cam Newton and 10-year-old Jack Bolton share a moment earlier this season. Photo by Brian Christiansen, Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There’s a framed poster hanging above the door between the Carolina Panthers weight room and locker room that says, "I'm Watching You."

The sign came from 10-year-old Jack Bolton.

Thanks to Carolina defensive tackle Kyle Love, Bolton will be watching Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the Panthers and Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium in person.

Call it a playoff "Love Story."

Bolton was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that severely impacts his mobility and respiratory health. From nearby Davidson, North Carolina, Bolton first was introduced to the Panthers in 2013 through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Panthers made Bolton’s wish of being a coach come true when he was named the team’s honorary coach for FanFest in August of 2013.

He became affectionately known as "Coach Jack."

Love helped make Bolton’s dream of attending Sunday’s playoff game come true.

Love found himself with two extra tickets when he discovered his agent, Richard Kopelman of KLAS Sports, couldn’t attend the game because of the winter storm that hit the East Coast.

Love wasn’t with the Panthers in 2013, but he’d noticed the sign. When told the full story of "Coach Jack" he knew immediately that’s where he wanted the tickets to go.

"I just wanted to make sure they went to someone deserving, someone who might not be able to get to a game like this, and would really enjoy being here," Love said.

So Love reached out to Kopelman, who reached out to Riley Fields, Carolina’s director of community relations, to make it happen.

Bolton actually became an inspiration to the Panthers before last year’s playoff run. He wrote a letter to coach Ron Rivera before a four-game winning streak to end the regular season that said, "I’m still watching you."

He wrote that he believed the team still could win.

Bolton was there for two of the four wins -- New Orleans and Atlanta -- that propelled Carolina to the NFC title. He brought a poster to the game that said, "I'm Watching You."

He gave it to Rivera, who had it framed and hung where players couldn’t miss it.

Now Bolton won’t miss the first time the Panthers host an NFC title game.

"In big games like this, you don’t really need extra motivation, but you’re always looking for something to give you the added edge," Love said. "Knowing Jack will be here watching definitely does it for me."