As the dust settles in Charlotte following Monday’s shocking firing of Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman (and the subsequent re-hiring of Marty Hurney to take his place in an interim role), conversation continues to swirl around two veteran players.
Clues pointed strongly toward strained contract conversations between Gettleman, linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen as a catalytic factor in a larger case against Gettleman.
The Observer caught up with Olsen at the HoopTee Celebrity Golf Classic in Ballantyne on Thursday morning, and he said he heard the news at the same time the public did on Monday.
Olsen denied any rumors of tension between himself and Gettleman – although admittedly Olsen is not directly a part of contract discussions between the front office and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
“My relationship with Dave never turned contentious,” he said. “It was always professional, a cordial relationship. Those discussions were never really had by me. They were always held in the appropriate manner, being Dave and the executives and my agent. I never really got personally involved. I never spoke personally to Mr. Richardson about it.
“My relationship with Dave has never been strained, has never been an issue. In regards to those reports, I saw all of that and a lot of people making the assumption that it was directly tied. I didn’t really give that a whole lot of credibility, that’s why I didn’t comment. ...
“But I think for people to think that players have that much control over an organization is a bit silly. There’s one guy that runs the organization, and that’s Mr. Richardson.
“To suggest that Thomas and I had anything really to do with it wasn’t even really something that I thought I needed to address.”
Olsen added that “it’s hard to say” whether this particular decision had been building for a long time or if there was one specific event that caused it.
“I think that everybody who follows the Panthers and kind of knows our history knows that the guy in charge, that’s Mr. (Jerry) Richardson (the team owner and founder), he makes all the decisions,” Olsen said. “He made the decision. There are obviously some parts that we aren’t even privy to.
“He made the decision that he felt was in the best interest of the team both short and long-term.”