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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Marty Hurney Has No Contract

I thought it was interesting to hear Marty Hurney say on Charlotte radio that he has no contract.  The Tom Sorenson rumor – a “lifetime contract”, a rumor that probably stemmed from the Dom Capers 1997 contract – isn’t true, per Hurney himself.

It sheds some light on that relationship – right or wrong, trust.  It also sheds some light on the turmoil that’s happened over the last five seasons, including with John Fox.  With the CBA issues likely on Jerry Richardson’s mind even that early, John Fox was on the hot seat in 2007.  2008 came with much success – and followed with a playoff collapse that the team has not recovered from.  Following that, the team continued to lock in key starters longterm, and started to try with Julius Peppers fairly hard – but not with Fox, who was pushing to be paid as one of the top coaches in the league.  It’s worth noting that after 08 is when Fox told many of his out-of-contract assistants to find work elsewhere, which many did. Stubbornness on both sides forced Fox, who may have been offered the ability to leave after 2009, to earn $6.5 million in 2010 to coach the team to two wins.

Fox’s insistence on a new, very highly paid contract helped cause that rift between he and the rest of the organization.  Chances are, in hindsight it would’ve been smarter to cut ties after 2009 – which, in Fox fashion, finished strong, but with so much roster turnover, it was difficult to carry any of that over (strong finishes in 2002, 2004, 2007 had netted playoff berths).  With that rift, came the separation of Hurney from Fox, and obviously, Hurney survived 2010 to hire Ron Rivera and draft Cam Newton.

Hurney did also shed off any concerns as to whether he’s Richardson’s puppet – and while not going into specifics, firmly planted the ideal that he’s 100% responsible for everything that happens.  I do still believe that they’re in accord on all moves, including what happened in free agency in 2011, in their mutual plans – going as far as to ask Richardson about the ability to pull a trade for TE Greg Olsen.

So what does it all mean?

It depends on your perspective.  Hurney admitting he’s “on the hot seat” came with the caveat that he’s the one “putting on the heat.”  So it’s hard to say if change is, in fact, inevitable long term or what it would mean.  It raises a level of possibility that something could change, one way or another.  But, for right now, there’s a season to be played, and these decisions don’t get made this time of year.  I have some thoughts in mind – that don’t include the one obvious but unattainable (Eric Decosta, who I honestly don’t even like as much as most), but that won’t be mentioned since it’s irrelevant on October 4 to worry about.   And to that end, I’m not 100% convinced it wouldn’t come from within..
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