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October 22, 2012

Panthers fire GM Marty Hurney

The Carolina Panthers have fired general manager Marty Hurney, the team announced Monday morning.

Hurney has been the general manager with the team since 2002, but his seat has become hotter since the 2010 season when the Panthers went 2-14.

From 2002-2009, the Panthers had three playoff appearances, including two NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. But since 2010, the team has had the fewest wins in the NFL with nine.

"This was an extremely difficult decision," said team owner/founder Jerry Richardson in a statement. "Marty made every effort to bring success to the Panthers and took the team to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games. Unfortunately, we have not enjoyed the success we hoped for in recent years. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Marty and will always appreciate the way he tirelessly served the organization."

The Panthers stand at 1-5 this season after falling at home to the Dallas Cowboys, 19-14, on Sunday. The team has lost four games this season by six points or less.

"I am very fortunate to have been a part of one of the best organizations in the NFL since 1998," Hurney said in a statement. "As general manager I will always regret not helping us win the Super Bowl or having back-to-back winning seasons. I hope this change starts accomplishing the direction to those goals.

"I understand this decision by Mr. Richardson and will always have an extremely close relationship with him. I consider him the best owner in the NFL. I am responsible for everybody in coaching, the players, the scouts and everybody in football operations. After six weeks, we are 1-5 coming off a 6-10 season."

  Head coach Ron Rivera said he learned of Hurney's dismissal at 8:30 a.m. Monday when he received a call from Richardson.

  "A little saddened and disappointed, obviously," Rivera said. "We're struggling through this situation right now. The bottom line is we're not playing very good right now. We've had some opportunities to win football games and we haven't done it.

 "I was surprised. This is a very difficult time. Mr. Richardson had to do what he had to do. This is where we are."

 Rivera said Hurney's departure is not the end of changes coming to the Panthers. Without specifying what will be different as the Panthers head into their final 10 games of the regular season starting with a Sunday visit to Chicago, Rivera said things won't stay as they are.

 "Yes, there are changes coming," Rivera said.

  Asked if the changes could involve firing assistant coaches, Rivera didn't rule it out.

  "I said this is a process that we’re going to go through as far as an evaluation and we’ll see how things go. If that’s what has to happen eventually, then yeah. Maybe that’s what happens. Do we cut players? Yeah. Maybe that’s what we’ll have to do. We’re evaluating everything as we go forward from here on out," Rivera said.

In an interview with the Observer earlier this month when the Panthers were 1-4, Hurney told columnist Tom Sorensen that he's the person responsible for the product on the field.

“I’m a better general manager today than when we went to the Super Bowl or we went to the NFL championship or we went 12-4,” says Hurney. “I know more. But the bottom line is the record is not good enough, it’s unacceptable.”

Hurney has been working without a contract so the team is under not obligation to pay him a buyout. A Panthers spokesman said there is no news conference scheduled at this time.

The Panthers are not expected to name an acting GM, a team spokesman said. The rest of the front office and the scouting department is expected to remain intact for the time being.

Some players reacted strongly to the news of Hurney's firing.

Defensive end Charles Johnson went on Twitter to denounce the move.

"Marty wasn't the reason we are losing! That's bs! Unbelievable!" Johnson posted on his Twitter feed. "Marty might be the realist GM that I know.  BS BS BS BS!"

Veteran wideout Steve Smith said he's always respected Hurney as a general manager and a man.

Hurney's record with first-round draft choices was solid and includes Julius Peppers, Jordan Gross, Chris Gamble, Thomas Davis, DeAngelo Williams, Jon Beason, Jonathan Stewart, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.

His second-round record, however, didn't produce the desired impact. Only four of Hurney's second-round picks remain with the Panthers -- Ryan Kalil, Sherrod Martin, Jimmy Clausen and Amini Silatolu.

Among Hurney's most controversial decisions was trading a second-round in 2010 in order to draft Appalachian State star Armanti Edwards in the third round. The second-round pick wound up being the 33rd overall choice.

Hurney orchestrated the signing spree in late July, 2011 after the lockout ended. It included signing running back DeAngelo Williams to a five-year, $43-million extension and giving defensive end Charles Johnson a six-year, $72-million extension. He also cut veteran kicker John Kasay in favor of free agent Olindo Mare, who was released after one season.

Earlier this year, the Panthers gave running back Jonathan Stewart a five-year, $36.5-million extension.



--Jonathan Jones, Joe Person and Ron Green Jr.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 22, 2012 at 09:56 AM | Permalink


Too little too late

Posted by: Dogsgottago | Oct 22, 2012 10:01:58 AM

It's a shame though cause its not going to change - we need a change of ownership - things will never change until we get an owner that wants to win - and I don't believe The Big Cat wants to win...its all about the money for him and win or lose, he will get your money!

Posted by: Flips256 | Oct 22, 2012 10:05:10 AM

Marty who?

Posted by: Man Up | Oct 22, 2012 10:05:26 AM

See ya, Marty. Maybe the CO will give you job.

Posted by: Curry | Oct 22, 2012 10:08:03 AM


Posted by: Jeff | Oct 22, 2012 10:10:13 AM

He should have been let go after the 2010 season with Fox.

Posted by: lmfao about time | Oct 22, 2012 10:12:48 AM

Now, Jerry needs to put his ego aside and hire a GM with a strong personality and can get the job done. Wouldn't hurt if they brought Polian back, but not sure he'd do it. If Michael Jordan can do it, Jerry Richardson can.

Posted by: PantherDave | Oct 22, 2012 10:13:01 AM

Bill Polian ins't with a team. Can we give him a call and see if he wants to rebuild us? We've got more talent than we did in 1995 when he built us the first time and we are in better shape than Indy was when he took the helm there.

Posted by: Sean P. | Oct 22, 2012 10:13:25 AM

Something had to change, but this wasn't it...

Posted by: George | Oct 22, 2012 10:14:15 AM

Just curious-how many interceptions/fumbles/missed tackles/crappy punts/terrible play calling was Marty responsible for yesterday? That's what I thought.

Posted by: Man Up | Oct 22, 2012 10:14:35 AM

While they're at it, fire the QB... he's another Vince Young in the making...

Posted by: Dave | Oct 22, 2012 10:14:57 AM

One of the worst GM's in the league. www.thecharlottejohn.com

Posted by: Jack | Oct 22, 2012 10:14:58 AM

I agree with Dave. Marty didn't have a strong personality. In fact, all these years, I saw him as a facilitator, doing what the coach wanted or what Richardson wanted.

Posted by: Ben | Oct 22, 2012 10:15:13 AM

Our long Carolina nightmare is over.

Posted by: Golfmage | Oct 22, 2012 10:15:18 AM

Rivera should go with him...

Posted by: David | Oct 22, 2012 10:17:29 AM

Polian built the team that finished dead-last last year correct? People said for years that Manning covered-up many of their personel problems...not sure Polian is the answer.

Posted by: Jack | Oct 22, 2012 10:17:54 AM

yeahhhhhhhhhhhh..best news of the year..fak this season is a wash..bring a new gm, trade beason d williams and draft defense...hell yeah i am so happy we lost yesterday now..

Posted by: pantherworld | Oct 22, 2012 10:20:03 AM

Wow, about time. Only a few years too late.

Posted by: tv22 | Oct 22, 2012 10:21:08 AM

Polian without his son in tow..

Posted by: Lanman | Oct 22, 2012 10:23:18 AM

How pathetic - even until the end, this clown clings onto the Super Bowl appearance. This is exactly why he should have been fired a while ago - living in the past and refusing to accept the present circumstances.

Thank you Mr. Richardson for listening to the fans - next step is to clean house with the coaching staff after the season ends!

Posted by: manu4t | Oct 22, 2012 10:25:05 AM

How much of a cap hit would dropping DWill cost?

Posted by: Sambo | Oct 22, 2012 10:36:48 AM

Bull crap, Dogsgottago - bull crap. The problem is NOT the ownership. Let me repeat that for those of you slow of hearing - the problem is NOT ownership or the willingness of Richardson to pay. He has payed and payed very well to keep his own players - at Hurney's recommendation. Richardson wants to win as badly as we do, so come off that poor, sorry excuse of the ownership. I'm tired of hearing it. Bottom line is the product we are putting on the field doesn't compare to the product others are putting on the field and that buck stops with Hurney, being the GM. A good GM and better personnel decisions will turn this franchise around.

Posted by: Bull | Oct 22, 2012 10:45:37 AM

Bill Polian lives in Charlotte.

and so does marty schoettenheimer.

just saying...

Posted by: Non Alabama fan | Oct 22, 2012 10:45:48 AM

Thanks for a few laughs, Marty, but good riddance!


Posted by: Chris | Oct 22, 2012 10:50:57 AM

I won't celebrate another person losing his job, but this was long overdue.

Posted by: Phillip | Oct 22, 2012 10:53:39 AM

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