This is interesting. And certainly odd timing.
The Carolina Panthers have announced that they’ve fired general manager Dave Gettleman, eight days before their training camp is set to open.
GM Dave Gettleman has been relieved of his duties. https://t.co/KS8zxjhwOh
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) July 17, 2017
It’s a surprise, to say the least, and not just to those of us outside of the Panthers organization: Joe Person, beat writer for the Charlotte Observer, tweeted, “this was a shock to most in the building” and that one veteran player replied, “Holy s&#%” when told of the firing.
In a statement, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said, “After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager. I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons. While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed.”
With Richardson acknowledging that the timing isn’t ideal but stressing that he believes the change is necessary, one has to wonder if something was happening behind the scenes to precipitate such a swift move; it almost always happens that GMs are fired at the end of an unsuccessful season, and while the Panthers were 6-10 last year, they were NFC champions and in the Super Bowl less than 18 months ago.
In a subsequent tweet, Person wrote that “there’s always been tension” between the locker room and Gettleman for the unpopular moves he made, and that it “had only increased of late.”
Among those moves: Gettleman released beloved receiver Steve Smith Sr. in March 2014, and in April 2016, he pulled the franchise tag the team had placed on star cornerback Josh Norman.
Neither Smith nor Norman is known for keeping a stiff upper lip, and both had quips for Gettleman:
— Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) July 17, 2017
— *Joshua R. Norman (@J_No24) July 17, 2017
(For the record, we give the win to Smith on this one … that’s some high-grade shade.)
NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport wrote that “there had been rumblings” that Richardson has been unhappy with Gettleman since the move to that led to Norman’s departure; he is now with Washington.
The question now is who Carolina will hire – and who is available given the timing. The man who spent the last two years as assistant general manager, Brandon Beane, left earlier this year to become the GM in Buffalo. Beane had been in the Panthers’ organization for nearly 20 years.
Gettleman was hired in 2013, with Carolina making the playoffs in each of his first three years with the organization.