The Carolina Panthers fired their general manager, Marty Hurney, Monday. That’s after the Panthers have lost five of their first six games.
This is not how the Panthers’ season was supposed to go.
As one example of just how high expectations were, Panthers’ offensive lineman Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad in the Charlotte Observer in July predicting the team would win the Super Bowl.
Now, the team is 1-5, and its general manager for the last decade is out of a job. Here’s head coach Ron Rivera:
“We're struggling through this situation right now,” Rivera said. “And the bottom line is we're not playing very good right now. We've had some opportunities to win some football games, and we haven't done that.”
The Panthers have been inconsistent since Hurney became general manager in 2002. There was the year they made the Super Bowl, but they’ve never pulled off back-to-back winning seasons.
The team has signed some players to big contracts that just haven’t paid off, like former quarterback Jake Delhomme’s contract extension that the Panthers were still paying for after they cut him.
There have also been questionable draft picks. Among them, the team sacrificed a future second-round draft choice so it could draft Armanti Edwards in the third round. So far, Edwards has been a bust.
Wide receiver Steve Smith acknowledged that public opinion may not have been in Hurney's favor. But Smith said no one person is responsible for the team winning or losing.
“Marty doesn't run any routes,” Smith said. “He doesn't catch any passes. He doesn't throw the ball. He doesn't block.”
Smith said Hurney did a great job. Across the locker room, offensive lineman Jordan Gross agreed.
“It makes me feel really bad that he's gone because it's a reflection of our record, which is a reflection of the team,” Gross said. “He was always accountable, made no excuses, but we definitely, I feel like we let him down.”
Coach Rivera will be in charge of personnel decisions for now. The team’s next game is Sunday in Chicago against the Bears.