David Tepper: "Sometimes students have to graduate"

Marty Hurney and David Tepper

CHARLOTTE – Panthers owner David Tepper thanked Marty Hurney Monday for the lessons he taught him and now wants to build on those lessons.

In a videoconference with local media, Tepper made it clear that he respected his former general manager's contributions and leaving a talented group of young players for coach Matt Rhule to work with.

Asked Monday about keeping Hurney for Rhule's first year rather than bringing in a new GM at the same time, Tepper said the year was valuable for the organization.

"Quite frankly, I think it was good for Matt and good for me to have another year with Marty. Marty's a great guy to have as a teacher and a person like that to have around," Tepper said. "It's crazy, sometimes people think that you can come in here – even though I was around football for a while, I wasn't there (in Pittsburgh) – and know what you're doing.

"I think sometimes it's not bad to have a good teacher around to teach you some aspects, and sometimes you graduate and try to figure if you can do other things away from it that may be better. Marty Hurney's a very good evaluator and has a lot of good aspects to him. Me and Matt both learned from Marty a lot. Sometimes students have to graduate."

For Hurney, the future could take him back to his alma mater.

His name has already been linked to the opening in Washington with his old friend Ron Rivera, and Tepper referred to the timing of Monday's announcement as "mutually beneficial."

"Listen, I have great respect for Marty," Tepper said. "I think some of the timing of this decision was out of that respect to Marty, to make sure he has time to look at other places."

Rivera's background with Hurney is obvious, and their link to his past is clear. Hurney grew up in the area and covered the team for a newspaper before former GM Bobby Beathard hired him.

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