CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One of Dave Gettleman’s favorite sayings during his four seasons as the general manager of the Carolina Panthers was that the complete truth about personnel decisions typically doesn’t come out for several years.
If at all.
That may be the case with Monday’s firing of Gettleman. Team owner Jerry Richardson made the decision, and Richardson doesn’t typically offer explanations — at least publicly.
Remember, he sent his two sons packing from the organization in 2009 with an explanation that was as vague as his reason for parting with Gettleman.
But what we know is that Gettleman did what he was hired to do in 2013. He made tough decisions to get the Panthers out of the salary-cap hell he inherited from former general manager Marty Hurney and helped a team that hadn’t made the playoffs since 2008 to three straight NFC South titles.
And, oh, a trip to Super Bowl 50.
He moved the team forward.
Now there are reports that Richardson could hire Hurney to be the interim general manager. Could a step back in time be a step backward for the organization?
Gettleman is a man of conviction. He ticked players off with tough personnel decisions. At the top of the list are former Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith and running back DeAngelo Williams, both released by Gettleman.
Both also got huge contracts from Hurney.
Gettleman also alienated cornerback Josh Norman when he rescinded his franchise tag following the 2015 Super Bowl season. Hurney, by the way, drafted Norman as a little-known cornerback out of Coastal Carolina.
The glee with which all three players reacted to Gettleman’s firing said it all.
But one of Gettleman’s strengths is he didn’t take things personally. He always said life was too short to hold grudges and get mad. He said it was a waste of time.
“As I’ve stated many times, all decisions I make will be in the long-term best interest of the Carolina Panthers,” Gettleman said after releasing Smith following the 2013 season. “Decisions, either popular or unpopular, have to be made for the greater good, and it is imperative to take an unemotional global view.