Jerry Richardson has long admired the New York Giants organization and been an ardent supporter of the NFL itself.
Friday, he hired a consultant with strong ties to both the league and the Giants to lead the Carolina Panthers’ search for a general manager.
Ernie Accorsi, 71, will serve as a consultant to the Panthers as the team searches for a GM to replace Marty Hurney, whom Richardson fired in October.
“I have a very high regard for Mr. Richardson and look forward to providing any help that I can to him and the organization in their search for a new general manager,” Accorsi said in a statement.
NFL rules prohibit teams from interviewing officials with other teams until the season is complete. Brandon Beane has served as the Panthers interim general manager since Hurney’s firing on Oct. 22.
Accorsi has aided in a handful of general manager searches since leaving his post as Giants GM after the 2006 season. One of his most notable searches was helping Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank select then-Patriots scout Thomas Dimitroff as the Falcons’ GM in 2008.
The Falcons have since gone to the playoffs three out of four seasons and are poised for another playoff run this year with an 8-0 record.
After graduating from Wake Forest with a journalism degree in 1963, Accorsi worked in Charlotte with the now defunct Charlotte News. He joined the Baltimore Colts in the early 1970s as the public relations director, where he met former Colt and future Panthers owner/founder Richardson.
He was promoted to assistant GM with the Colts in the mid-1970s, where he stayed until joining the Cleveland Browns as their GM in 1985. He was fired after seven seasons with the Browns and joined the Giants, where he became their GM in 1998.
While with the Giants, Accorsi saw the team to one Super Bowl (a loss), while drafting future two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning in the 2004 draft.
He retired at the end of the 2006 season, one year before the Giants would win Super Bowl XLII.
His consultant work post-retirement notwithstanding, Accorsi has also served as the chairman of the NFL’s General Manager Committee since 2008.
A team spokesman said Accorsi was not available for comment.