When the Carolina Panthers fired head coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday, there were some questions about the future of the franchise and the figures in the front office. Owner David Tepper only added to the intrigue when he didn't mention general manager Marty Hurney in his statement. According to NFL.com reporter Steve Wyche, this was due to the expectation that Tepper would be "cleaning house" at the end of the season, but the situation appears to have recently changed.
Appearing on NFL Network following the news of Rivera being fired, Wyche explained that it is his understanding that Hurney will not be safe as Tepper evaluates the state of the Panthers. Although the Panthers owner did partially walk away from that statement when he said that he doesn't want to lose the GM.
"Marty Hurney is one of the best recognizers of college talent in the nation. Period," Tepper said, per NFL.com. "I don't want to lose that. And he's also not a bad manager."
That being said, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network said that this statement doesn't guarantee Hurney's long-term future with the Panthers. It just means that he will not be fired immediately. Specifically, Garafolo cited the revelation that Tepper will be bringing in an assistant general manager and a vice president of football operations that will work with him and strive to make this team competitive for the future.
"Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes," Tepper said, per the team website. "We will consider a wide range of football executives to complement our current football staff.
"One change that we will implement is hiring an assistant general manager and vice president of football operations. We all must recognize that this is the first step in a process, but we are committed to building and maintaining a championship culture for our team and our fans."
According to Garafolo, there is an expectation that the assistant general manager will be the eventual replacement for Hurney. This move just may not happen in the coming weeks as previously expected. The current GM may get another season to prove that he is the long-term answer for the Panthers.
Given that the Panthers are still early in the process of finding Rivera's replacement and deciding upon the future of the franchise, there is a possibility that Hurney could soon be on the outs, but he will remain in place for the time being. As Garafolo said in his report, the GM has "somewhat" of a vote of confidence.
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