Marty Hurney

NFC Notes: Falcons, Seahawks, Panthers

Andre Roberts wants to return to the Falcons next season, but the returner is expecting to become a free agent in the middle of March.

“I believe I will be a free agent this year,” Roberts told D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just like last year and the year before that. I’m understanding of it.

“I would love to be back in Atlanta. I’m sure my agent will talk to the upper management in Atlanta and see where they are at. That will all come down when it’s due time.”

The 30-year-old finished the campaign having averaged 7.4 yards on 27 punt returns and 22.6 yards on a league-leading 38 kickoff returns. He also played 31 snaps on offense, adding a single reception for 12 yards.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Bruce Irvin‘s contract will count $8.25MM against the cap next season, but the Raiders wouldn’t be stuck with any dead money if they moved on from the veteran linebacker. If the Raiders were to cut Irvin,’s Brady Henderson believes a reunion with the Seahawks would make plenty of sense. Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin are both free agents and Cliff Avril is dealing with a serious neck injury, so Seattle could certainly be in the market for reinforcement at linebacker. After being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft, Irvin played the first four seasons of his career in Seattle.
  • Jerry Richardson is making his final mark on the Panthers by retaining general manager Marty HurneyJoseph Person of the Charlotte Observer notes that a new ownership group could be willing to buy out the executive’s contract, but the recent move assures that Hurney at least gets paid. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Joseph believes the general manager was signed for several seasons.
  • The Seahawks recently announced changes to their coaching staff (via’s John Boyle). The majority of the additions had previously been reported, but we did learn that the team had hired offensive assistant Steve Shimko. The coach previously served as the offensive coordinator at Garden City Community College in Kansas, and he previously worked with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer at the University of Georgia.

Panthers Appoint Marty Hurney As GM

Marty Hurney is the Panthers’ GM. Again. Marty Hurney

On Wednesday, the Panthers announced that they have removed the interim tag from Hurney’s title. He’ll move forward as the team’s top decision maker, which was the expected outcome this offseason.

Hurney’s first run as the Panthers’ GM came from 2002-12. When the Panthers made the surprising move to fire Dave Gettleman in the summer, they re-hired Hurney in an interim capacity. At the time, the team said that part of Hurney’s job would be to “help the team identify its next general manager.” Apparently, Hurney discovered the team’s new GM while shaving.

We are very fortunate to have Marty as our general manager after he did an exceptional job in the interim role this past season.” Panthers COO Tina Becker said. “Marty’s guidance and vision helped build the foundation for this team, and his work this season was instrumental in returning the team to the playoffs. We believe he will continue to craft a roster that will win games and contend for a championship.”

Hurney has not managed a draft since 2012, but as the team’s press release notes, that draft brought linebacker Luke Kuechly (No. 9 overall) and cornerback Josh Norman (fifth round) to Carolina. Hurney is also responsible for the drafting of notables such as quarterback Cam Newton, defensive end Julius Peppers, offensive tackle Jordan Gross, cornerback Chris Gamble, linebackers Thomas Davis, and Jon Beason, and running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

Before giving the job to Hurney, the Panthers interviewed Bills scout Lake Dawson twice while 49ers executive Martin Mayhew and Texans exec Jimmy Raye III at least once. By interviewing a minority candidate (in this case, multiple minority candidates), the Panthers satisfied the Rooney Rule.

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Hurney Still Favorite For Panthers GM Job

Marty Hurney has been cleared of wrongdoing by the league office and he’s once again in the catbird seat to move forward as the team’s GM. Hurney remains the favorite for the Panthers’ permanent GM post and things could be finalized soon, Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter) hears. Marty Hurney

[RELATED: Panthers’ Marty Hurney Reinstated]

From the get-go, there were whispers that the GM job was never really available, despite the Panthers interviewing three other candidates for the job. The Panthers satisfied the Rooney Rule already, so there should be no roadblocks in the way if they do decide on Hurney. Bills scout Lake Dawson was interviewed twice while 49ers exec Martin Mayhew and Texans player personnel VP Jimmy Raye III each met with team brass at least once.

Hurney’s first stint as the Panthers’ GM came from 2002-12. In that span, he oversaw three playoff teams, including which saw a Super Bowl berth. The Panthers went just 80-85 during that span, but he maintained his connections within the organization and kept close watch on the team as he worked for ESPN Radio in Charlotte. Panthers stars Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, and Greg Olsen were all brought in during Hurney’s first term.

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Panthers Reinstate Marty Hurney

Marty Hurney is back with the Panthers. On Friday, the Panthers announced that they have reinstated the interim GM after the completion of a league investigation into harassment allegations. Marty Hurney (vertical)

Its been a very long two weeks for Marty and his family,” Hurney’s attorney, Kathleen Lucchesi, said in a statement (Twitter link via’s David Newton). “In this digital age, it’s nearly impossible to overcome suspicion, defend yourself, and clear your name once the court of public opinion gets a hold of a false narrative. The public scrutiny can be devastating and unrelenting. In this case, it was also unnecessary. Words cannot express how thankful Marty is for the love and unwavering support of his family. He is grateful to the NFL for conducting a thorough investigation. He is also grateful for the continued confidence and support of the Panthers organization. Marty is looking forward to getting back to the work of building a strong and successful Panthers team for the 2018 season.”

It was said to be a foregone conclusion that Hurney would be appointed to the Panthers’ permanent GM post, but things were thrown into flux when his ex-wife raised allegations against him. Even though his former partner, Jeanne, withdrew the claims in court, the NFL still did its due diligence. Meanwhile, the Panthers placed Hurney on paid leave and suspended the GM search.

Now that Hurney has been cleared of wrongdoing by the NFL, the Panthers may move quickly to make him the full-time GM hire. However, Bills scout Lake Dawson received two interviews for the job and he is reportedly a legitimate candidate for the post. The team also met with 49ers exec Martin Mayhew and Texans player personnel VP Jimmy Raye III.

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NFC South Notes: Saints, Brees, Panthers

If Drew Brees decides to play hardball, he could take control of his contract negotiations with the Saints, Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune writes. But, so far, Brees has been a good solider, saying repeatedly that he wants to retire in New Orleans and indicating that he will not test the free agent market.

In theory, things can change between now and March 14. If the Saints try to lowball the 39-year-old, Brees could threaten to test the open waters to try and regain leverage. Despite his age, Brees would almost certainly garner offers of more than $30MM per year, putting him ahead of Jimmy Garoppolo and just behind the expected annual average value of Kirk Cousins‘ next contract.

Duncan figures that the floor for talks has to be $20MM per year, the average of the current deals for Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. If the ceiling for elite quarterbacks is ~$30MM, then the beat writer guesses that a two or three-year deal with a $25MM AAV and out clauses after each season makes sense for both sides.

While we wait to see how that plays out, here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Former UFC owner Frank Fertitta is heading one of the groups looking to purchase the Panthers, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (on Twitter) hears. If Fertitta’s group winds up buying the team, he’ll have to divest his interest in Station Casinos. Fertitta was a major shareholder in Zuffa LLC, which recently sold the UFC for upwards of $4 billion.
  • Despite rumblings that interim GM Marty Hurney is a shoe-in for the Panthers‘ permanent GM post, Fritz Pollard chairman John Wooten says he’s willing to allow the team’s interview process to play out before raising concerns with the NFL, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. The Panthers interviewed multiple minority candidates for the position and it has been reported that Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson is a strong candidate. “They have interviewed three viable candidates. I know that they had one come back again for a second interview. So that’s where they are,” Wooten said. “I think our position is we will let the process as it relates to the investigation run its course, and see what goes from there.” The Panthers are currently in a holding pattern as Hurney is under league investigation for harassment accusations raised by his ex-wife.
  • This week, PFR’s Dallas Robinson broke down the Buccaneers‘ top three offseason needs.

Panthers Conduct Second Interview With Lake Dawson

Marty Hurney met with NFL investigator Lisa Friel on Friday as part of a league investigation into a since-withdrawn domestic violence claim made by Hurney’s ex-wife. This has affected the Panthers’ GM interview process, with Hurney — who served as interim GM last season — previously viewed as the favorite to be named full-time GM.

However, the Panthers may now be leaning toward hiring an external candidate, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (on Twitter).

One of the outside candidates that went through the initial interview process, Lake Dawson, was summoned back to Charlotte for a second meeting, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Dawson was one of three outside candidates interviewed for this post, joining 49ers exec Martin Mayhew and Texans player personnel VP Jimmy Raye III.

Currently the Bills’ assistant college scouting director, Dawson also interviewed for the Panthers’ GM position when it was previously open in 2013. Dave Gettleman won that race, but Dawson is firmly in the mix this time. Ron Rivera has been part of this search process as well, but the eighth-year HC wasn’t in the meeting when Dawson returned to North Carolina.

Hurney is currently on paid leave as the NFL conducts its investigation, and Person reports nothing is imminent on making this hire. Although Jerry Richardson intends to sell the Panthers, Person reports does not want to make a rash decision regarding Hurney, whom he once fired to clear the way for Gettleman.

Latest On Panthers GM Search

Panthers interim general manger Marty Hurney will meet with NFL investigator Lisa Friel on Friday, according to David Newton of (on Twitter). Hurney is on paid administrative leave while the league gathers information a claim of harassment by his ex-wife. Marty Hurney (vertical)

The harassment claim by Hurney’s ex-wife has been withdrawn in the courts, but the league continues to do its due diligence on the matter. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ GM search is effectively in a holding pattern. Before the accusations came to light, it was widely believed that Hurney was a shoe-in for the job. The feeling was that other interviews for the vacancy were being done only for compliance with the Rooney Rule, but that might not be the case.

Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson received a second interview for the job and he is a strong candidate, according to Tom Pelissero of (on Twitter). Dawson comes with serious credentials – he spent nine sesons with the Titans and became the team’s VP of player personnel in 2015. He spent 2016 with the Browns before becoming the Bills’ assistant director of college scouting in 2017. All in all, he has 17 years as a scout/executive under his belt.

As Pelissero notes, the Panthers are not close to offering the GM position to anyone as they deal with investigations concerning Hurney and owner Jerry Richardson. But, once the smoke clears, Dawson could be a real possibility for the post.

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Panthers Place GM Marty Hurney On Leave

The Panthers have placed interim general manager Marty Hurney on paid leave following allegations of harassment from his ex-wife, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.Marty Hurney (vertical)

Hurney’s ex-wife, Jeanne, originally filed for a restraining order last Friday, but a judge denied the request given there was no evidence Hurney committed domestic violence. A new hearing had been set for February 16, but given that Jeanne has since withdrawn her complaint, that hearing will not actually occur. The NFL still plans to investigate the allegations regardless of how the judicial process plays out.

While there are no assertions of domestic violence in Jeanne Hurney’s complaint, she does claim Marty Hurney was “extremely controlling and was verbally and emotionally abusive” during the couple’s marriage. Additionally, Jeanne alleges: her computer and security system have been hacked; Marty or his associates have broken into her home; intruders have places sticky notes in her books, highlighting words such as “victim” and “terrorize.”

Marty Hurney’s lawyer has called Jeanne’s complaints “complete fiction,” but it’s fair to wonder how the claims will affect Hurney and his status in Carolina’s ongoing general manager search. Hurney, who was named the club’s interim GM after Dave Gettleman was fired in 2017, had been viewed as the frontrunner for the position. Other candidates for the role include Lake Dawson (Bills), Martin Mayhew (49ers), and Jimmy Raye III (Texans).

The Panthers, of course, are no strangers to harassment-related controversy, as team owner Jerry Richardson was accused of inappropriate sexual and racial comments in December. Richardson quickly ceded control of the club, and announced his intention to sell the Carolina franchise once the 2017 campaign concluded.

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South Rumors: Panthers, Colts, Texans

Although the Panthers have two outside candidates set to interview for their GM post, they are expected to retain Marty Hurney, Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk notes. The Panthers do not plan to have a formal interview with its interim GM, who is in his second stint in this job, but “everyone in their building” knows Hurney will get the job over Jimmy Raye III and Lake Dawson. Both black, Raye and Dawson will satisfy the Rooney Rule requirement. However, Gantt notes that with the Panthers effectively knowing what they will do here, this represents another shortcoming of the rule — even if it’s not as transparent as the Raiders’ Jon Gruden hire. This franchise being up for sale, however, may not ensure optimal job security for Hurney. But he’s expected to receive another crack after running the Panthers this season.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions.

  • The Panthers‘ interview with Raye will take place on Thursday and they’ll meet with Dawson on Friday for the GM job, sources tell Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). The Texans’ assistant GM, Raye interviewed for the top jobs in Houston, Indianapolis and San Francisco only to be passed over. The Bills’ assistant college scouting director, Dawson interviewed with the Panthers after they fired Hurney the first time. But Carolina chose Dave Gettleman.
  • Under expected new DC Matt Eberflus, the Colts are likely to implement a 4-3 scheme to take the place of the 3-4 look they’ve used for most of this decade, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writes. Eberflus’ background comes in Dallas’ 4-3 look, one the Colts used to some success during their run of playoff berths in the 2000s. Outside linebackers John Simon and Jabaal Sheard would shift to ends, and Johnathan Hankins has four years’ experience as a 4-3 nose. Keefer notes the team will need to upgrade its linebacker situation, however, before this move comes to pass.
  • If the Texans want to become a 2018 contender, they need to address their offensive line, Gregg Rosenthal of posits. Houston traded Duane Brown and has three starters eligible for free agency. And the team’s Jeff Allen contract has not worked out especially well. Derek Newton remains without a timetable, and the Texans — thanks to multiple trades with the Browns — do not have a pick in the first two rounds come April. So, some of the team’s free agency budget will need to be allocated here.
  • The Titans could be set to make ex-Ravens DC Dean Pees‘ retirement short.

Panthers Set Up GM Interviews For Next Week

Though interim general manager Marty Hurney is the frontrunner to be named the Panthers new GM, the team has also scheduled interviews with a pair of external candidates for next week, the Charlotte Observer’s Joseph Person writesMarty Hurney (vertical)

Those two candidates are Texans assistant general manager Jimmy Raye III and Bills assistant college scouting director Lake Dawson. Both Raye and Dawson, as Person notes, satisfies the Rooney Rule that requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate.

Though a time has not been divulged, the Panthers are also expected to sit down with Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden, who formerly served as a scout with Carolina.

Raye, a former player with the Rams, joined the Houston front office after stints with the Colts, as vice president of football operations, and Chargers, as director of player personnel. He has 23 years of experience in the NFL and previously interview for the Texans GM job earlier this month. Dawson joined the Bills in May 2017 following a stint as Cleveland’s national scout. He served as a receiver for six seasons before getting into college and pro scouting.

Hurney, who rejoined the Panthers following the dismissal of Dave Gettleman in the 2017 offseason, will not have a formal interview. His contract runs through June and has been backed by head coach Ron Rivera. In his one season on the job, Hurney dealt top wideout Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo, which led to Carolina’s passing improvement down the stretch.


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