Part of the media speculation for the firing was Gettleman’s strained relationship with former players — several of whom took glee in the GM’s ouster. Another part of the speculation centered around how contract negotiations with veteran fan favorites like linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen were headed this summer.
In an interview with Kelsey Riggs of NBC Charlotte on Tuesday, Davis said it was “unfair” that he and Olsen were being linked to Richardson’s decision to cut ties with Gettleman.
“It’s really sad and disappointing when you hear all the people that are saying that the reason Mr. Gettleman was released was because of me or Greg,” Davis said. “I think that’s an unfair statement. I think that’s something that you guys are giving us too much credit; we’re not that important in the grand scheme of things and intimately, Mr. Richardson made a decision and it’s something that we’re all going to live with.”
Davis confirmed to Riggs that he had spoken to Gettleman about a new deal before the firing.
“We had actually engaged in contract talks,” Davis said. “They presented something and we presented something back, and we were just in the process of negotiating.
“I felt like the talks were going well. There’s nothing that’s going to happen overnight, it’s a negotiation for a reason.
“We understand that as players and it really wasn’t any hard feelings from my end, because we understand that. They don’t have to do it. It’s a situation where I have another year and they can make me play it out, or make Greg play his remaining two years out. As players, that’s something we agreed to a long time ago. You just want some clarity, some certainty moving forward as a player and I’m thankful that the organization is willing to do it.”
Gettleman’s tenure in Charlotte was characterized by several cold-blooded business decisions that clearly rubbed some players the wrong way. CBS Sports’ Will Brinson provides a superb, in-depth look into some of those moves that could have led to Richardson’s decision.
So who will run the team’s roster this season? Former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is meeting with Richardson on Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the meeting told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. If the meeting goes well, Hurney, who served as the team’s GM from 2002-12, is expected to be named the Panthers‘ interim general manager.