Connect :
listenlive

David Newton's ESPN Sports Magazine

David Newton's ESPN Sports Magazine
by David Newton posted Nov 20 2017 11:26AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen insists he won't gain an unfair advantage assisting in the broadcast of the Minnesota Vikings-Los Angeles Rams game for Fox Sports on Sunday as some in the Minnesota organization have suggested.

"The notion that I'm going to gain an unfair advantage is crazy,'' the three-time Pro Bowl selection said on Wednesday. "We have scouts at every game across the league. I'm going to have enough trouble on my hands broadcasting a game, let alone looking for little nuances on the sideline.

"I don't know how much time I'll have for stealing of secrets. I never was intending or thought I was in a production meeting. I never thought I would watch a practice.''

NFL.com reported that Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman spoke with the NFL and Fox Sports to say it is inappropriate that Olsen be allowed to participate in the broadcast during the bye week for the Panthers.

"The notion that I'm going to gain an unfair advantage is crazy. We have scouts at every game across the league. I'm going to have enough trouble on my hands broadcasting a game, let alone looking for little nuances on the sideline."

Greg Olsen
Olsen has been on injured reserve with a broken foot suffered in a Week 2 win against Buffalo, but he is set to come off next week in time to play in the Nov. 26 game against the New York Jets.

The Panthers (7-3), who trail the New Orleans Saints (7-2) by a half-game in the NFC South, host the NFC North-leading Vikings (7-2) on Dec. 10. They could face the NFC West-leading Rams (7-2) in the playoffs.

Minnesota's concern is that Fox Sports announcers Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis will have access to practice and production meetings, and they could share team secrets with Olsen.

"For anyone who has ever been in those broadcast production meetings, if you're spilling your deepest, darkest game-plan secrets to the broadcast crew, that's kind of on you,'' said Olsen, who has been in production meetings before. "We're not getting anything that's really going to give you much insight on how to beat them.

"The whole thing is so crazy to me. I don't know. Whatever.''

Olsen said he would have no issue if a Minnesota player was in the booth for a Carolina game.

"What you see on the tape is what you see, and then whatever your secrets are for that week, you sure are not telling anybody,'' he said. "So I don't know what's left.

"I don't even know what to say. I never imagined in a million years when Fox asked me to do this five months ago that this was ever going to become an issue.''

Olsen is disappointed that this has taken away from what he considers a special moment for him because broadcasting is something he might be interested in after he finishes playing football.

"It kind of sucks that it's controversy as opposed to people being a little excited for a little different take on the game,'' he said. "But that's the world we live in. Everyone has a problem with something. I get it. I understand this is a highly competitive world. I get it.

"But I'm still going to do it.''
by David Newton posted Nov 10 2017 2:42PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Fans booed Sunday when Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart was tackled for no gain on his first carry after fumbling on the two previous series against Atlanta.

They cheered when the 2015 Pro Bowl selection trotted to the sideline.

Some fans obviously have given up on the 30-year-old back, who in Week 4 became the organization's all-time leading rusher with (then) 6,967 yards, but the Panthers haven't.

"We believe in Jonathan," coach Ron Rivera said Monday. "That is why we brought him back in and gave him the football again. That's why we gave him the carry at the end of the game as well."

The Panthers might believe in Stewart, but it might be time to admit that he has become a complementary piece to rookie Christian McCaffrey, instead of vice versa.

Or maybe it's time to just declare McCaffrey the lead back.

The grind-it-out running game the Panthers (6-3) hoped to have with Stewart isn't happening. He was held to 21 yards on 11 carries against Atlanta. Four games ago, he had minus-4 yards on eight carries.

Over the past five games, the 2008 first-round pick out of Oregon has 120 yards on 62 carries. That's an average of 1.9 yards per carry by a back who has averaged 4.3 yards per carry in his career and had a career-high mark of 5.4 in 2011.

Thirty, remember, is an age when statistics show that productivity for backs declines.

Not that McCaffrey has been lighting it up in the running game. Before a career-best 66 yards on 15 carries in the 20-17 victory over the Falcons, he had 117 yards on 49 carries -- or 2.4 yards per carry.

The eighth pick of the draft did most of his damage as a receiver prior to Sunday. But Sunday felt like a changing of the guard, even if the Panthers keep trotting Stewart out as the starter because of all he has done for the organization, on and off the field.

"He's a big part of our identity," offensive coordinator Mike Shula insisted.

But what is Carolina's identity? Newton has been the leading rusher the past four games, with 251 yards on 40 carries.

Former wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin said he wasn't surprised that the Panthers traded him to Buffalo a week ago because, "I could kind of feel that the offense was kind of going toward another direction."

That direction is toward more speed, with players such as McCaffrey and second-round pick Curtis Samuel, a wide receiver out of Ohio State.

McCaffrey benefited the most from the Benjamin trade because he can play slot and wide receiver in addition to running back. He was on the field for 82 percent (53 of 65) of the snaps. That was up from 58 percent (38 of 65) the week before at Tampa Bay.

Stewart went from 43 percent (28 snaps) against the Buccaneers to 32 percent (21 snaps) against Atlanta. He was used as a decoy on an inside run on McCaffrey's 4-yard touchdown run. Often prior to Sunday, McCaffrey was used more as a decoy in an attempt to open up inside running room for Stewart.

Asked if the offense could produce at an optimal level with Stewart as the inside presence, Rivera said, "Yes and no."

"It's the flow of the game," he said. "If they are shutting things down on the outside, and we've got to run the ball up inside, I would much rather see Jonathan run it inside than ask Christian to do that.

"Although I think Christian has the ability for that, Jonathan is built for that."

Stewart, at 5-foot-10 and 235 pounds, is a more powerful back than the 5-foot-11, 205-pound McCaffrey.

But when Carolina was trying to control the clock with about eight minutes left and a 20-10 lead, it went with McCaffrey and Cameron Artis-Payne for five plays. McCaffrey had three runs for 12 yards.

On the game's last series, with Carolina trying to run out the final 1:42, McCaffrey had three straight carries before Newton ran off the final seven seconds with a rollout and pass out of bounds. One of those was an 8-yard run off right tackle.

Stewart had only two carries for 4 yards in the final quarter.

"Sometimes a game calls for a certain flavor, a certain style of play," Rivera said. "As the game wears on and Mike makes decisions in terms of play-calling, it'll dictate that."

Both Rivera and Shula said they weren't concerned about fumbling becoming an issue for Stewart, who before Sunday never had two fumbles in a game. In the same breath, Rivera said for Stewart to be productive, "it's about touches."

All signs point toward Stewart not getting the 18- to 20-plus touches a game he typically needs to be effective and wear defenders down with his power game. All signs point toward McCaffrey becoming a bigger part of the running game.

Shula doesn't look at it that way and says the players don't either.

"To me, that's what's unique about our football team and our offense," he said. "It's an unselfish group. On paper, yeah, we all want more stats. We all want 100-yard rushing games. We all want 300-yard passing games.

"More so than all those things, we want to go win. There's no better feeling than there was yesterday."

by David Newton posted Oct 17 2017 1:46PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laughed and made light of a female reporter who asked about one of his teammates, saying it was "funny to hear a female" ask the question.

Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton during Wednesday's news conference about wide receiver Devin Funchess embracing the physicality of routes and if Newton got enjoyment out of that.

Newton responded, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like -- it's funny.''

Panthers director of communications Steven Drummond said in a statement that he spoke with Newton and Rodrigue "and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team."

Rodrigue said in a statement that Newton did not apologize.

"This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs," Rodrigue said. "I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments."

According to a Charlotte Observer report, Rodrigue asked Newton afterward whether he thought a woman couldn't understand receiver routes.

"Newton said she wasn't really seeing specific routes when watching the game, she was just seeing if somebody was open," the Observer reported. "She argued that he didn't know what she saw nor how hard she had studied football, and that maybe the two of them needed to have a deeper conversation.

"Newton said that maybe he should have said it was funny to hear 'reporters' talk about routes and that, if she actually did know about them, then she knew more than most reporters," according to the Observer. "Then he gestured toward the locker room, still filled with her colleagues."

Rodrigue, whom the Observer reported had introduced herself to Newton last October on her first day with the newspaper, asked him if he knew her name. Newton said he did not, according to the report.

"Jourdan Rodrigue, Charlotte Observer," she said before walking away, according to the report.

Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of the Observer, said Newton's comments were "unfortunate and out of line."

"The question Jourdan asked during the news conference was a good one, like countless other questions about football strategy and nuance she has asked in the course of doing her job,'' Persinger said.

In a statement, the NFL said "the comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists. They do not reflect the thinking of the league."

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, league spokesman Joe Lockhart said the NFL has further plans to get involved in the situation.

Dannon, which had an endorsement deal with Newton through its Oikos yogurt, issued a statement Thursday that it would "no longer work with him."

"We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women," the statement read. "It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It's simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender.

"We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him."

Newton's marketing agent, Carlos Fleming, told ESPN's Darren Rovell that Dannon has not terminated the agreement and has no grounds to do so, and that the brand has advertising with Newton that is still running.

The Association for Women in Sports Media said in a statement that it "is very discouraged by Cam Newton's disrespectful remarks and actions directed to a female reporter during today's Carolina Panthers press conference. As a watchdog group, AWSM demands fair treatment and positive workplace environments for women working in sports media."

The Pro Football Writers of America also condemned Newton's comments, saying in a statement that he "crossed the line."

Newton made headlines for his interaction with the media after the Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, when he cut short his session with reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
by David Newton posted Oct 12 2017 11:08AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and the Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz weren't exactly hot topics in the MVP conversation before the season.
 
Wentz wasn't on the radar at all, coming off a rookie season in which he threw 14 interceptions to 16 touchdown passes for a 7-9 team.
ADVERTISEMENT
 
Newton, coming off shoulder surgery in March, disappeared from the radar three weeks ago after throwing three interceptions at home in a 34-13 loss to the then-winless New Orleans Saints.
 
Keep in mind it's early, but Newton and Wentz are legitimate contenders for the MVP award that Newton won in 2015 in part because of their statistics and in part because their teams are off to 4-1 starts heading into Thursday night's matchup at Bank of America Stadium here.
 
You can't call them MVP favorites. Alex Smith has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions for Kansas City, the NFL's only undefeated team. Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt is making a strong case for the award, as well, with an NFL-best 609 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
 
Don't forget Aaron Rodgers. He has the Green Bay Packers atop the NFC North at 4-1 with 13 touchdown passes and three interceptions.
 
And as Tom Brady proved in the Super Bowl in February, you can never count him out. Although New England is 3-2, Brady has thrown 11 touchdowns to one interception and leads the league with 1,702 passing yards.
 
But Newton and Wentz are right there on the periphery, and both will have an opportunity to impress voters in front of a national TV audience on Thursday.
 
NFL Nation Panthers reporter David Newton and Eagles reporter Tim McManus are here to break down why each is deserving at the moment and whether their play is sustainable:
Cam Newton
Cam Newton enters the Panthers-Eagles game with two straight 300-yard passing games, the first time he has accomplished that since the first two games of his rookie season. AP Photo/Steven Senne
 
The good: Newton had his MVP form of 2015 over the past two weeks in wins against New England and Detroit. He threw six touchdown passes and only one interception, completing 77.4 percent of his passes. The latter jumps out because Newton has a career completion percentage of 58.9. His 68.3 completion percentage on the season is up there with Drew Brees (69.1) and Tom Brady (68.2). Newton also surpassed 300 yards passing in each of the past two games, the first time that has happened since the first two games of his rookie season in 2011. And oh, by the way, he's showing his legs still are a weapon, with 15 rushes for 44 yards and a touchdown in the past two contests, after running only 14 times in the first three games. He's still, as Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, "Public Enemy No. 1" as a running quarterback.
Cam Newton Through Five GamesCom. Att. Pct. Yards Yards/att. TD INT Rate
99 145 68.3 1,237 8.53 8 5 98.5
 
The bad: Easy. The first three games. Newton had two touchdown passes and four interceptions. Although Carolina coach Ron Rivera insisted his quarterback was making good decisions, Newton was out of sync with his receivers. He was badly missing wide-open targets. He was at his worst against New Orleans, with two of his interceptions coming without any pressure. That Newton was practicing on a limited basis, still experiencing fatigue in his shoulder, which appeared to be a red flag that he wouldn't get better any time soon. His health was impacting the way offensive coordinator Mike Shula called the game too, with deep passes and called runs all but eliminated from the game plan. It wasn't until Newton increased his practice time before the New England game that things turned around.
 
Can he sustain it? Here's a stat for you. Newton has eight touchdown passes and five interceptions this season. He had eight touchdown passes and four interceptions after five games in his rookie season; he then threw three interceptions to one touchdown pass in a Week 6 win against Philadelphia. Newton didn't get hot until the final nine games of his first campaign, when he threw 24 touchdowns to two interceptions. That season, Newton began spreading the ball around more after Kelvin Benjamin suffered a season-ending knee injury in training camp. He has a more talented receiving corps this season with Benjamin, an emerging Devin Funchess and rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, who leads the team in catches with 27. McCaffrey, in particular, makes Newton's job easier now because opposing teams have to pay so much attention to the rookie playmaker. The offensive line also is playing more like it did in 2015. Remember, that group was decimated by injuries a year ago, when Carolina lost six games by a field goal or less. So yes, Newton can sustain this productivity as long as his shoulder continues to improve. -- Newton
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz has been the NFL's best passer on third down this season. Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire
 
The good: Wentz ranks in the top 10 this season in just about every major statistical category, including yards (1,362), touchdowns (10) and quarterback rating (97.7). He has shown growth across the board from his rookie season. Nowhere is that more evident than on third down. He now leads the NFL as a third-down passer (71 percent completion rate, 6 touchdowns) after showing inconsistencies in that area in 2016. Wentz wanted more pre-snap control, and he has used it to put the offense in favorable positions with checks at the line of scrimmage. With better weapons such as receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith at his side, and supported by a strong running game over the past several weeks, Wentz has taken the Eagles' attack to another level in Year 2.
Carson Wentz Through Five GamesCom. Att. Pct. Yards Yards/att. TD INT Rate
110 177 62.1 1,362 7.7 10 3 97.7
 
The bad: One area that had been a trouble spot for Wentz -- downfield passing -- is showing signs of improvement. Entering last week's game against the Arizona Cardinals, Wentz had completed just 33 percent of passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield -- 28th in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information data. The long ball game got real healthy real quick on Sunday, as Wentz connected on 57 percent of his downfield throws with three touchdowns. He tossed a career-high four touchdowns in all versus Arizona. There's not a whole lot to pick apart in Wentz's game at the moment. His completion rate (62 percent, 21st in the NFL) could be a bit higher, and he has left some plays on the field -- particularly on deep balls earlier in the season. But overall, he is playing like an elite QB -- just 21 games into his career.
 
Can he sustain it? There's little reason to think he can't. It won't always look like it did on Sunday, and there are sure to be some stumbles along the way, but Wentz is still very young in his career and should only get better with experience. He has a good supporting cast around him. While he's expected to be without right tackle Lane Johnson on Thursday against Carolina (concussion), Wentz plays behind a quality offensive line and has plenty of capable targets to choose from in the passing game. His style of play does lead to a good amount of hits (35 QB contacts through five games, tied for eighth in NFL), but so long as he stays healthy, Wentz's ascension should continue. -- McManus
by David Newton posted Oct 12 2017 9:15AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laughed and made light of a female reporter who asked about one of his teammates, saying it was "funny to hear a female" ask the question.

Charlotte Observer beat reporter Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton during Wednesday's news conference about wide receiver Devin Funchess embracing the physicality of routes and if Newton got enjoyment out of that.
ADVERTISING
inRead invented by Teads

Newton responded, "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes like -- it's funny.''

Panthers director of communications Steven Drummond said in a statement that he spoke with Newton and Rodrigue "and I know they had a conversation where he expressed regret for using those words. We strive as a department to make the environment for media comfortable for everyone covering the team."

Rodrigue said in a statement that Newton did not apologize.

"This afternoon, I did my job as an NFL beat writer and asked Cam Newton a question about one of his receivers. I was dismayed by his response, which not only belittled me but countless other women before me and beside me who work in similar jobs," Rodrigue said. "I sought Mr. Newton out as he left the locker room a few minutes later. He did not apologize for his comments."

According to a Charlotte Observer report, Rodrigue asked Newton afterward whether he thought a woman couldn't understand receiver routes.

"Newton said she wasn't really seeing specific routes when watching the game, she was just seeing if somebody was open," the Observer reported. "She argued that he didn't know what she saw nor how hard she had studied football, and that maybe the two of them needed to have a deeper conversation.

"Newton said that maybe he should have said it was funny to hear 'reporters' talk about routes and that, if she actually did know about them, then she knew more than most reporters," according to the Observer. "Then he gestured toward the locker room, still filled with her colleagues."

Rodrigue, whom the Observer reported had introduced herself to Newton last October on her first day with the newspaper, asked him if he knew her name. Newton said he did not, according to the report.

"Jourdan Rodrigue, Charlotte Observer," she said before walking away, according to the report.

Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of the Observer, said Newton's comments were "unfortunate and out of line."

"The question Jourdan asked during the news conference was a good one, like countless other questions about football strategy and nuance she has asked in the course of doing her job,'' Persinger said.

In a statement, the NFL said "the comments are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists. They do not reflect the thinking of the league."

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, league spokesman Joe Lockhart said the NFL has further plans to get involved in the situation.

Dannon, which had an endorsement deal with Newton through its Oikos yogurt, issued a statement Thursday that it would "no longer work with him."

"We are shocked and disheartened at the behavior and comments of Cam Newton towards Jourdan Rodrigue, which we perceive as sexist and disparaging to all women," the statement read. "It is entirely inconsistent with our commitment to fostering equality and inclusion in every workplace. It's simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender.

"We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him."

Newton's marketing agent, Carlos Fleming, told ESPN's Darren Rovell that Dannon has not terminated the agreement and has no grounds to do so, and that the brand has advertising with Newton that is still running.

The Association for Women in Sports Media said in a statement that it "is very discouraged by Cam Newton's disrespectful remarks and actions directed to a female reporter during today's Carolina Panthers press conference. As a watchdog group, AWSM demands fair treatment and positive workplace environments for women working in sports media."

The Pro Football Writers of America also condemned Newton's comments, saying in a statement that he "crossed the line."

Newton made headlines for his interaction with the media after the Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, when he cut short his session with reporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
by David Newton posted Sep 11 2017 9:26AM
The thing that surprised me most in the Panthers' 23-3 win at San Francisco was how well rookie Christian McCaffrey adjusted his pass route on a Cam Newton scramble and made the reception for a first down. I knew he excelled at running routes but McCaffrey adjusted on the fly like a 10-year veteran.
by David Newton posted Sep 7 2017 9:47AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera didn't hesitate on Sunday when asked where quarterback Cam Newton was in his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery a week before the opener at San Francisco.

"I think he's ready,'' Rivera said. "You wish he'd had a few more snaps and played a little bit earlier in the preseason so we'd have more to go on. But what we saw, we liked.

"We liked how everything seems to be meshing together as an offense. We'll see how it goes as we continue to work this week.''


Cam Newton has been a full participant in practice the past week as the Panthers began installing the game plan for San Francisco. AP Photo/John Raoux
Newton had surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. The 2015 NFL MVP was limited in throwing much of the first four weeks of training camp and played only one series -- a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive -- during the four preseason games.

But Newton has been a full participant in practice the past week as the Panthers began installing the game plan for San Francisco.

The staff was so confident with where Newton is medically that third-string quarterback Joe Webb was released on Saturday. Carolina still will carry three quarterbacks after claiming former University of Miami star Brad Kaaya following his release by Detroit.

But Kaaya was brought in to be developed for the future with backup Derek Anderson, 34, in the last year of his contract. Webb, 30, hadn't taken an in-season snap at quarterback since he was at Minnesota in 2013.

General manager Marty Hurney said releasing Webb was tough because of his versatility and locker room presence. But he echoed Rivera's sentiments on where Newton is.

"We have been on a plan since training camp,'' Hurney said. "I think we feel very confident. We do feel very confident. Every day he takes more and more. He's looked good. He's felt good. We have a lot of confidence in him.''
by David Newton posted Aug 25 2017 10:57AM
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will not play in Saturday's preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.

Backup Derek Anderson will start against the Titans, followed by Joe Webb and Garrett Gilbert.

Newton did not throw in team drills during either practice.

"You could tell he was rusty,'' coach Ron Rivera said Thursday. "A couple late [balls] on the decisions he made. When he was throwing the ball, he was throwing the ball well, so we're not concerned about that.

"Now it's just a matter of him working himself back into shape where he can go out and take normal reps instead of us having to make sure we monitor him.''

Newton, who also didn't play in last week's preseason opener against Houston, had surgery in March to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.

He threw the first five days of training camp, but then was pulled from the second half of a July 30 practice when team trainer Ryan Vermillion noticed fatigue and soreness.

Newton then went 14 days with limited throwing and no participation in team drills until he threw some in the red zone on the last day of the Wofford College portion of training camp.

Rivera has said consistently that the goal is to have Newton ready for the Sept. 10 opener at San Francisco, not the preseason.

Rivera also has said he'd be OK with it if Newton didn't play in any of the four preseason games.
by David Newton posted Jul 19 2017 4:52PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers on Wednesday hired Marty Hurney -- on an interim basis -- to replace the general manager who replaced him four years ago.

Hurney takes over for Dave Gettleman, who on Monday was fired by team owner Jerry Richardson despite helping Carolina reach the playoffs -- including a trip to Super Bowl 50 -- in three of his four seasons.

EDITOR'S PICKS

Oher 'hated to hear' of GM Gettleman's firing
Panthers tackle Michael Oher's reaction to the firing of GM Dave Gettleman was supportive, saying that he "hated to hear" the news and knows "he'll be fine."

Panthers fire GM; ex-players elated on Twitter
The Carolina Panthers have relieved general manager Dave Gettleman of his duties effective immediately, the team announced Monday.
Gettleman was hired in January 2013 to replace Hurney, who was fired after a 1-5 start to the 2012 season and a 6-10 record in 2011.

Hurney said at a news conference that he heard from a "buddy of mine'' on Monday morning that Gettleman had been fired. Late in the afternoon he got a call asking if he would meet with Richardson on Tuesday.

"There's a trust there,'' he said. "I know him. He knows me. We know the principals and philosophy. We both have a burning desire to win games, to bring a successful season to this city.''

Hurney said when he and Richardson met they talked strictly about moving forward, not about why Gettleman was fired. But he said knowing Richardson the way he does it wasn't a rash decision made in one day.

Hurney said his immediate focus was on learning the roster and getting ready for this season. He won't start narrowing down a list of candidates for a fulltime general manager until after the season.

Asked if he might be a candidate for the fulltime position, Hurney was vague.

"Honestly, I've got 93 text messages on my phone right now,'' he said. "I'm not looking past this afternoon. I'm here in an interim capacity and I'm here in this role.''

By naming an interim general manager, the Panthers, according to a league spokesman, did not violate the Rooney Rule. The rule requires a team to interview at least one minority candidate for high-profile positions such as general manager and head coach.

There was no formal search in 2012 when Brandon Beane was promoted to interim general manager after Hurney was fired.

But John Wooten, the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance that advocates for minority hiring in the NFL, told The Charlotte Observer he believes the rule should apply.

"The Rooney Rule clearly states that if you are hiring a person or in search of filling a position and that position has to do with being in charge or being in charge with personnel, then you must adhere to the Rooney Rule," Wooten said.


Marty Hurney is back in the role of general manager for the Panthers, although this time on an interim basis. AP Photo/Neil Redmond, File
The transition for Hurney should be simple. Hurney remained in Charlotte and purchased radio station ESPN 730 after his dismissal. Most of the front-office personnel and many of the key players remain in place from when he was with the organization.

Hurney also hired coach Ron Rivera in 2011 and has remained close to Richardson.

Rivera said with training camp starting on Tuesday, "we've got the right guy at the right time."

"He knows us," Rivera said. "He knows the organization. He knows how Mr. Richardson thinks, which is very important."

Bringing back Hurney now gives the organization time to find a full-time replacement after the season with players reporting to training camp on Tuesday. Richardson also would have the option of making Hurney the full-time general manager. Team officials said Hurney will help hire the next GM.

Hurney joined the Panthers in 1998 after serving in the Chargers' front office under Bobby Beathard. He was named the general manager in 2002 and helped the Panthers reach the Super Bowl after the 2003 season.

Hurney was responsible for bringing to the organization 10 of the 21 starters on the 2015 team that went an NFL-best 15-1 and reached Super Bowl 50.

"He worked with us for 15 years and understands the culture we have here,'' Richardson said in a statement. "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."

Among the current players Hurney drafted are quarterback Cam Newton, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, center Ryan Kalil, outside linebacker Thomas Davis and defensive end Julius Peppers.

Peppers, like Hurney, is on his second go-around with Carolina. The nine-time Pro Bowl selection and team's all-time sack leader re-signed during the offseason after spending the past seven seasons at Chicago and Green Bay.

Peppers left after the 2009 season because he and Hurney were about $6 million apart in negotiations for a new deal.

Hurney also selected defensive end Charles Johnson, second on the team's all-time sack list, in the third round of the 2007 draft. In 2011, Hurney made Johnson the highest-paid player in the league with a six-year, $76 million deal that received a lot of criticism.

The Panthers were $16 million over the salary cap when Gettleman was hired. He made tough personnel decisions, such as the release of all-time leading wide receiver Steve Smith after the 2013 season and all-time leading rusher DeAngelo Williams after the 2014 season.

That received harsh criticism from both players, who expressed their satisfaction with Gettleman's firing on social media this week.

Gettleman also was criticized for rescinding the franchise tag of 2015 Pro Bowl selection Josh Norman after the Panthers' Super Bowl run. The Panthers, with a young, untested secondary, fell to 6-10 in 2016.

Hurney selected Norman in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Coastal Carolina.

One of Hurney's first tasks will be to negotiate an extension for Davis, 34, who is heading into the final year of his contract.

Olsen, who has two years left on his deal, also wants an extension after becoming the first tight end in NFL history to record three straight seasons with 1,000 receiving yards.

"The only time I've heard of that so far is in the media,'' Hurney said of extensions for both players. "We have to do things, the right decisions.''

One of Hurney's best trades came in 2011, when he gave the Chicago Bears a third-round pick for Olsen, who has since become a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
by David Newton posted Jun 13 2017 9:23AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The past two months have been anything but a vacation for Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Christian McCaffrey because of an NFL rule that prohibits him from joining the team until Stanford’s school year ends.

The former Stanford running back has spent three hours every morning training and undergoing treatment from his hometown of Denver, and the rest of his day watching film and talking on the phone with running backs coach Jim Skipper.

He insists he hasn’t done anything fun, outside of going to a Rockies baseball game, while his teammates have been in voluntary offseason workouts.

“I figure the guys on my team aren’t doing anything fun, so I’m trying to walk in and stay on their schedule,” McCaffrey told ESPN.com. “I’m trying to put myself as much in a situation as they’re in as possible.”

McCaffrey arrived in Charlotte on Sunday to get acclimated to his new home. He’ll begin working out with the team on Wednesday, the second day of a mandatory three-day minicamp.

“I won’t be behind as far as the plays go in practice,” McCaffrey said. “Getting acclimated and comfortable with the team, I’ll be a little bit behind. But that will come.”

McCaffrey would like to see a change in the rule Carolina coach Ron Rivera said unnecessarily punishes players like McCaffrey. Tight end Greg Olsen said the rule is backward.

McCaffrey repeatedly said it’s been a “bummer” having to stay away since a rookie minicamp in early May, especially because he wasn’t enrolled in classes at Stanford this quarter.

“I understand the concept of the rule,” said McCaffrey, referring to the language in the collective bargaining agreement designed to allow college players to finish the school year and work toward a degree without the pressure of football.

“But at the same time, for a guy like me that is just trying to get out there and get acclimated to the team and compete, it’s tough.”

Outside of quarterback Cam Newton possibly throwing for the first time since March 30 shoulder surgery and an appearance from tackle Michael Oher, who hasn’t participated in the voluntary workouts and remains in the concussion protocol, McCaffrey’s arrival will be the biggest news of this minicamp.

McCaffrey, who lives and breathes football the same way that Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly does, can’t wait.

“It’s tough being away from a competitive atmosphere for that long, but I still push myself every day in my training and studies,” McCaffrey said.

What McCaffrey has missed the most is the opportunity to bond with his new teammates. That’s something he can’t really do on the phone or in text messages.

“It’s definitely a major factor,” McCaffrey said. “Everyone wants to be close to your team. You don’t want to have guys that don’t feel comfortable in the locker room.

“But they’ve been so welcoming to me. The times I have been there, the vets have been so great to me, reaching out to me, texting me, giving me advice. So I know I’m not there, but I definitely feel very comfortable.”

McCaffrey also is comfortable with sharing the backfield with veteran Jonathan Stewart, 30, who said last week he wasn’t worried about losing carries to the 2015 Heisman Trophy runner-up.

“He said it best; we’re trying to win a Super Bowl,” said McCaffrey, referring to the quote from Stewart. “I don’t care if I get no carries and just play special teams. I’m there to try to win football games and help that team win.

“Every great team has multiple backs. Very few times do you have just one back. To be able to share the backfield with him and the other guys is going to be a lot of fun.”

McCaffrey will be fun to watch. He’ll help the Panthers as a runner, receiver out of the backfield, slot receiver and kick returner. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to make plays even when on the field at the same time as Stewart.

Countless hours of film study have only whetted his appetite to get started.

“It’s an unbelievable football team across the board,” McCaffrey said. “It’s exciting for me, because coming in as a rookie, just being able to pick these guys’ brains and learn from them, compete with them every day, is going to be a lot of fun.”

McCaffrey’s father, former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, has done all he can to help his son prepare for this moment.

So has Carolina linebacker Shaq Thompson, who went through what Christian McCaffrey has with the rule when the Panthers selected him out of Washington in the first round two years ago.

“He just told me to enjoy the time at home and I’ll be fine when I get back,” McCaffrey said. “It does suck [not being there], but at the same time I’ve enjoyed being at my home with my family for the last time in a while.”
On Air  Now
Dr. Bob Martin 6am-7am
Recent Post
Tough reality with Zach Britton
Unfair advantage
The best coach in Texas.
The best coach in Texas.
Changing of guard coming.
Tag Cloud
Blog Categories
Blog Archives
Local Forecast
Event Calendar