By David Rogers. July 19, 2017. CHARLOTTE, NC – “There are no rash decisions when it comes to Jerry Richardson,” new (interim) general manager of the Carolina Panthers told a room full of reporters on Wednesday, just two days after Richardson issued a press release saying that now former GM Dave Gettleman was being “relieved of his duties.”
COVER IMAGE: Interim general manager Marty Hurney walks into the Panthers interview room to meet with reporters on Wednesday. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
And that is about as close to an explanation that Panther Nation has gotten, officially, as to why Gettleman was let go after four seasons. And they were four seasons that included three consecutive NFC South titles and a trip to California to play in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers have been as tight-lipped as tight can be in explaining the reason for Gettleman’s firing just a week before the start of training camp for the 2017-18 season.
Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson said in a Wednesday statement released by the team that Hurney is the perfect person to help in the interim.
…just making sure we are ready to go when the players report.
“He worked with us for 15 years,” noted Richardson, “and understands the culture we have here. He had a lot to do with the core of our team being in place. I’m thankful that he is willing to help us in this transition period.”
Hurney’s opening remarks were a mix of emotion and analytics.
“I never lost my investment in and respect for this organization and the people inside it,” said the man who became owner of Charlotte-based ESPN 730 after he was fired by Richardson when the team started the 2012 season 1-5, “from Jerry Richardson to Ron Rivera and to a lot of the players in that locker room. I am excited about coming back and working toward success on the field, and helping identify and develop someone for the future.”
When pressed by Blowing Rock News as to the biggest challenges he faces in taking over management of the team just a week before the team begins preparations for its new NFL campaign, Hurney offered, “The talent that you have has been acquired in free agency and the draft. Normally you go in and you want to have an emergency list for camp. You have to make sure you have enough guys to practice and you look at our strengths and our needs. You have an emergency list of guys you might need down the road and that might be available by trade. With me, it is getting up to speed with (head coach) Ron (Rivera) and the personnel people on the roster, and with the salary cap guy, just making sure that we are ready to go when players report.”
I am interim. I have that role, but I am going to attack the job just like I would any other year.
Although tagged with the “interim” qualifier, Hurney told a room full of radio, TV and newspaper outlets on Wednesday that he had full control of the team’s decision-making, including making long-term personnel decisions.
“The trust that Mr. Richardson has in me,” Hurney said. “I think that is why I am here, to make the right decisions for this organization, not only for the short-term, but long-term. I can only do it one way, full bore. I am interim. I have that role, but I am going to attack (the job) just like I would in any other year. I am going to do what I think is best for this organization both short-term and long-term.”
He added, “People talk about making hard decisions or easy decisions or soft decisions. To me it is not about soft, easy or hard. It is about making the right decision.”
When asked by Blowing Rock News if the Panthers had set a timeline for hiring a permanent GM and whether he was a candidate for that position, Hurney quickly said, “Our focus right now is training camp and winning games. After this season is over, I think that is when you start to target candidates. I am here in an interim capacity to do that.”
When another reporter pressed the question further, asking whether after getting back into the role and finishing the season whether he would consider wanting to go beyond this season, Hurney chuckled and said, “I have 93 text messages on my phone right now. I am not looking past this afternoon! I am here in an interim capacity. You win games (this season), then you start looking and targeting (a permanent GM)