Tom Sorensen

There are reasons to like Marty Hurney, but should the Carolina Panthers hire him?

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (left) might re-hire Marty Hurney (right) as the team’s general manager, but is it the right move?
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson (left) might re-hire Marty Hurney (right) as the team’s general manager, but is it the right move? dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The Carolina Panthers need somebody to lead their personnel department. Former Carolina GM Marty Hurney would make an excellent interim general manager.

Hurney drafted Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly. He drafted Thomas Davis and traded for Greg Olsen. He drafted Josh Norman (fifth round), Captain Munnerlyn (seventh round) and quarterback Jimmy Clausen (second round).

Clausen went 48th overall, 23 picks after Tim Tebow and 147 picks before Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown, a great receiver whom Hurney almost, almost, almost drafted. Missing on Brown probably is his biggest regret.

Like Gettleman, Hurney is a football guy. Like Gettleman he’s respected within the organization. Unlike Gettleman, he’s popular with players. Hurney never left Charlotte; he owns Charlotte sports talk station ESPN730

Can you return to a job you walked away from after an absence of almost five years?

Sure you can. The Panthers aren’t going to offer it permanently, and if they did, Hurney wouldn’t take it. He’s a good guy. He’s also a relaxed guy. There are terms you could apply when he was GM, but relaxed isn’t one of them.

During a playoff game the Panthers were winning, the reporter sitting in the row in front of him began to book a flight to Carolina’s next playoff game. Hurney turned red, or redder and yelled. The reporter (not me) quietly removed his fingers from his keys and bowed his head and didn’t book the trip until the game had ended and the Panthers had won. It was hilarious.

When I ran into Hurney in the press box before a game, I’d ask him how he was doing.

“Peachy,” he’d say.

Sarcasm was involved.

This isn’t. If he’s interested, hire him.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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