The Carolina Panthers on Monday fired general manager Marty Hurney over philosophical differences.
“You look at successful organizations, and there’s a certain alignment between the head coach and the GM,” team owner David Tepper said in a statement. “To think that you can do that without some sort of alignment is nuts. So to not have a head coach with some input into that is stupid. I don’t want to be stupid, OK?”
Hurney, whose contract was set to expire in June, is out immediately and the Panthers (4-10) will begin reshaping their front office for the offseason. They currently are in line for a top-five draft pick.
“I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh,” Tepper said. “We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I’m sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides.
“I think it’s just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward.”
Tepper said in the statement recent conversations with Hurney about football operations made it clear they weren’t on the same page.
Tepper and chief communications officer Steven Drummond will begin immediately identifying candidates with some already in mind. Head coach Matt Rhule also will be a part of the process.
Tepper made it clear he wasn’t happy with the team’s record even though star running back Christian McCaffrey has missed 11 games with injuries and the defense was completely overhauled with young players.
“This team could easily have another four wins,” Tepper said. “The eight games that we had the ball last to win or tie — seven to win, one to tie — if you win four of those games, you’re in a totally different position right now with this young team. So looking at next year, I’m very hopeful where we will be and what we will do.”
Hurney has been with the Panthers since 1998, starting off as the director of football administration. He helped the 2003 team reach the Super Bowl under coach John Fox and in large part built the 2015 team that went to the Super Bowl under general manager Dave Gettleman.
Hurney was fired five games into the 2012 season with the team off to a bad start and rehired in 2017 after Gettleman was fired.
He is responsible for drafting some of Carolina’s biggest all-time stars such as quarterback Cam Newton, linebacker Luke Kuechly and linebacker Thomas Davis.
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