GM Marty Hurney (Chuck Burton/AP)
General manager Marty Hurney's contract was set to expire at the end of June, but two sources inside the organization confirmed this week what has been expected for months -- he's not going anywhere.
That shouldn't come as big news. Although Hurney's contract was technically set to expire on Wednesday (June 30) -- and it still remains unclear whether or not he's actually signed an extension since the Panthers don't announce that information -- he was never a risk to leave. And he's still employed by the Panthers.
According to team spokesman Charlie Dayton, Hurney is on vacation this week, along with most of the team's coaching staff and the majority of the team's employees.
Most are on vacation through next week and won't return to work until mid-July to begin preparations for the start of training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. Players report on July 28.
Dayton said he had no information about whether Hurney has signed a contract extension, but believes it's a "not an issue" saying everything is "business as usual" with the Panthers.
The Panthers, per team policy, don't typically announce contract information for front office personnel, unless of course they've been relieved of duties or have left the franchise, as was the case with Mike McCormack and Bill Polian in earlier years. In fact, the last time Hurney signed a contract extension it took months before the news became public. Clearly that's the way the low-profile Hurney likes it.
The team doesn't seem intent on changing that policy if Hurney signs an extension -- or even if he's already signed one. Hurney did not return phone calls on Wednesday.
Dayton said the comments Hurney made around the time of the NFL draft still stand.
"That's not a factor. I'm good," Hurney said of his contract status during a pre-draft press conference back in April.
Extremely well-liked by owner Jerry Richardson, Hurney has spent the last 12 seasons with the Panthers, including the last nine as general manager.
--Apologetic, yet defiant, Panthers' wide receiver Steve Smith said Thursday he regretted playing in an adult flag football league at a local YMCA in Charlotte that resulted in a broken left arm and added that he won't be doing it again anytime soon.
WR Steve Smith
Smith is expected to miss 6-8 weeks but should be ready for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the New York Giants.
"Obviously, I put my team and myself in a bad situation by playing," Smith said after calling into the Mac Attack program on WFNZ-AM. "But that wasn't my intention and wasn't what I thought the outcome was going to be."
Smith later added that he wished he could take it back, before defending himself by saying, "I am a regular guy outside of football. I mow my grass, too. I can get my finger chopped off fixing my lawnmower. I could roll my ankle playing tag or slip-n-slide with my kids. In hindsight, yeah, I won't do it again. But I was just having fun, playing with some guys."
The injury came while Smith was playing defensive back and trying to bat down a pass. He lost his balance and landed on his arm. It's the same arm he broke last December against the Giants.
The team is not expected to withhold money from Smith if he misses a game, even though Smith violated the terms of the typical NFL contract which prohibits players from playing football outside of the team. When asked why he would risk getting injured in a flag football game, Smith said, "If you get out of your little shallow box, you would understand it's more than just money for me in this game. This is what I grew up playing, and it was my offseason. Until freaking Father's Day, nothing had happened."
Smith had another plate and screws inserted during surgery Sunday night, according to his agent Derrick Fox.
Seemingly perturbed with all of the negative hype surrounding the injury, Smith said he won't be playing flag football again.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm going to sit in my bubble. That's what I'm going to do for the rest of my career. That would be better for everybody." --WR Steve Smith told WFNZ-AM on his decision not to play flag football anymore.
MEDICAL WATCH: From all accounts, running back Jonathan Stewart will be on the field and ready for the start of training camp when the Panthers begin practice on July 29. Stewart sat out the OTAs resting his surgically repaired ankle. Stewart has missed more practices than he's participated in since joining the Panthers but has never missed a game.
Has Hurney done enough to help the Panthers? Discuss it in the message boards.