CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Marty Hurney believes he is better prepared to make personnel decisions this time around with the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers Wednesday brought back Hurney to be their interim general manager, two days after owner Jerry Richardson surprisingly fired Dave Gettleman.
Hurney was the Panthers GM from 1998-2012. He is credited for building the core of a team that reached the Super Bowl two seasons ago — most of which still remains intact — but he also drew criticism for being too loyal to aging veterans by giving out too many big contracts.
Hurney said he needs to more analytical — and less emotional — in his decisions.
“When the emotional part takes over then that’s not good a lot of times,” Hurney said. “… With the great general managers, the analytical part of their brain makes decisions, not the emotional part.”
Richardson did not attend the news conference, but said Hurney is the “perfect person to help the organization in the interim” in a release Wednesday.
“He worked with us for 15 years and understands the culture we have here,” Richardson said. “He had a lot to do with the core of our team being in place. I’m thankful that he is willing to help us in this transition period.”
Hurney said he will assist the organization on finding a full-time general manager after the season is over. He would not say if he was interested in working with the Panthers beyond this season.
“I’m not looking past this afternoon,” Hurney said.
Hurney has hit some huge home runs with draft picks like Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Ryan Kalil, and made a smart trade to acquire tight end Greg Olsen.
But he’s had some major blunders, too.
He drafted quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the second round and traded up to acquire wide receiver Armanti Edwards, two players that didn’t work out. He’s also given out contract extensions to players at the end tail end of their careers, including quarterback Jake Delhomme.
Despite being relieved of his duties midway through the 2012 season, Hurney kept a close eye on the Panthers while working in broadcasting in the Charlotte area.
He still has a solid working relationship with several veteran players in the locker room, and was instrumental in hiring Ron Rivera, who became a two-time NFL coach of the year.
“We have got the right guy at the right time for the situation and circumstances that we’re in,” Rivera said of Hurney. “He knows us, he knows the organization and how Mr. Richardson thinks, which is very important. It will make things easier on me. I won’t have to worry about developing a relationship with a new general manager.”
Hurney said he will have full authority over personnel decisions this season, and won’t have to run them by Richardson.
“I think he trusts that I will make the right decisions for this organization, not only short term but long term,” Hurney said.
His first order of business will likely be to extend the contracts of Davis, Olsen and guard Trai Turner. Davis and Turner have one year left on their deals, while Olsen’s contract expires after the 2018 season — although the All-Pro has outperformed his current deal.
Those moves could happen before the Panthers report to training camp Tuesday.
Gettleman had been Carolina’s general manager for four seasons, three of which resulted in a trip to the playoffs. But Carolina was 6-10 last season a year after reaching Super Bowl 50, where it lost to Denver.
The relationship between Richardson and Gettleman began to deteriorate shortly after Carolina’s Super Bowl defeat. Gettleman’s cut-throat personality didn’t sit well with some veterans in the locker room and some felt like they were unappreciated.
NOTES: Rivera said the most important issue facing the Panthers entering training camp next week is the health of quarterback Cam Newton. Newton has been throwing with teammates in Baltimore, something that has become a weeklong summer bonding tradition for Carolina’s skill position players in July.