The Carolina Panthers expected even more improvement after a promising 2011 highlighted by the rookie campaign of quarterback Cam Newton. Instead, they’ve started the year 1-5 and Newton has regressed along with the rest of the Panthers’ offense. On Monday, GM Marty Hurney took the fall–he was fired by team owner Jerry Richardson.
Hurney had been with the time for a long time, joining the personnel department in 1998 and being named general manager in 2002. The success had a good deal of success in the early days of Hurney’s tenure–they went to the Super Bowl in 2003 and the NFC Championship game in 2005. On the other hand, there was considerable downside and a lack of consistency. The team hasn’t had a winning season since 2008 and never had back to back winning season during Hurney’s run with the team.
Jerry Richardson announced the move with this statement released by the team:
“This was an extremely difficult decision. 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 final source of Hurney’s undoing was the poor showing this year combined with the fact that the Panthers have one of the highest payrolls in the league. He took the high road in reacting to his dismissal:
“I am very fortunate to have been a part of one of the best organizations in the NFL since 1998. 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.”
Some of the Panthers’ players, however, weren’t happy with the move. Defensive end Charles Johnson tweeted:
“Marty wasn’t the reason we are losing! That’s bs! Unbelievable! Marty might be the realist GM that I know#InMyMind BS BS BS BS!”
There was no immediate word from the team on a replacement.