The Carolina Panthers made a surprising move Monday, firing General Manager Dave Gettleman after four seasons and just nine days before the start of training camp.
“While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed,” team owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement.
Gettleman helped Carolina make the playoffs in three of his four years with the team, including a 15-1 record in 2015 and 12-4 in 2013. Also following the 2015 season, the Panthers advanced all the way to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to the Denver Broncos, 24-10.
But apparently there was some friction between Richardson and Gettleman, who cut cornerback Josh Norman after an All-Pro season in 2015. The Panthers ended up struggling to a 6-10 record last season.
Norman’s reaction to Gettleman’s firing was pretty tame.
But other former Panther players who were cut during the Gettleman era weren’t as easy on their former GM. Receiver Steve Smith, released by Carolina in 2014, tweeted a photo of himself grinning from ear to ear and a sarcastic message for Gettleman.
Running back DeAngelo Williams, cut by the Panthers in 2015, called Gettleman a “snake” and officially removed Carolina from the list of teams he will not consider signing with as a free agent.