In the wake of a 1-5 start, the Carolina Panthers have already begun to shake up the organization. Team owner Jerry Richardson today fired longtime general manager Marty Hurney, who had been the team's lead football executive since 2002.
"This was an extremely difficult decision," Richardson said in a statement. "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 Panthers have been a major disappointment so far, failing to show any improvement on last year's 6-10 season, the first with No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton. The second-year quarterback has struggled badly and hasn't shown the kind of leadership the team expected.
If things don't turn around quickly, don't be surprised to see second-year head coach Ron Rivera. Speculation has already begun to swirl that the Panthers will hire former Steelers coach Bill Cowher and give him full authority over personnel matters.
But Richardson wasn't inclined to pay a king's ransom for Cowher last year, so it remains to be seen whether he changes his thinking.