Before Ernie Accorsi was hired to help the Panthers find a successor for former general manager Marty Hurney, Accorsi got a call from Hurney himself.
Hurney and the Panthers wanted Accorsi, the former New York Giants general manager, to analyze the teams recent drafts and player acquisitions as a paid consultant. But when Panthers owner Jerry Richardson fired Hurney in October after the teams 1-5 start, Accorsis responsibilities shifted to include the general manager search.
Before Marty was gone, he sent me tapes, Accorsi said last week. They played hard until the last whistle. There should have been more wins, (including) the Dallas game.
Hurney was let go the day after the 19-14 loss to the Cowboys. Richardson called Accorsi, whom he first met when Accorsi was in public relations with the Baltimore Colts, and asked him to help him find a general manager.
Accorsi narrowed his initial list of candidates to five Giants executives Dave Gettleman and Marc Ross, Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp and Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton.
NFL rules prohibited the Panthers from talking to candidates from other teams until that teams season ended. Accorsi said they considered bringing in Popp for an early interview, but decided to meet with all the candidates in January.
Paton informed the Panthers he was staying in Minnesota and turned down the interview. Despite outside perceptions that Accorsi hand-picked Gettleman, his friend and longtime colleague, Accorsi said everyone was on equal ground.
I wasnt going to sell anyone. First of all, that wasnt going to work with Jerry Richardson, Accorsi said. Secondly, I have a lot of pride in my own integrity and I wasnt going to do something like that.
Gettleman was the last of the four candidates to meet with Richardson, who offered him a job within two hours of their interview.
He was positive about the first three. They all went well, Accorsi said. But I really thought it clicked with Dave.
Accorsi, 71, who has consulted for other NFL teams, declined to say what his evaluation of the Panthers roster and draft history revealed. He said his work with the Panthers is finished at least from an official standpoint.
He told Gettleman he might call him with suggestions if he saw the Panthers going off the track.
He said, Well, whats new? Accorsi said.