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Panthers return to Spartanburg under former/new GM


SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Ned Stark. The Red Wedding. Dave Gettleman?

You may not understand that grouping if you don't watch "Game of Thrones," but you may at least be aware the hit show has had a habit of making some of its most important characters, let's say, suddenly disappear. So when avid "Thrones" watcher Ryan Kalil was asked about Carolina's pre-training camp "Wofford is Coming" campaign, the witty center/Hollywood producer couldn't help but compare "Game of Thrones" to the real-life drama last week in Panther-land.

"We've obviously taken it too literal with the offing of major characters," Kalil quipped Tuesday, shortly after checking into the Wofford dorms.

Kalil's comic relief came just eight days after the Panthers surprisingly parted ways with general manager Dave Gettleman. Not so surprisingly, players are leery of delving too far into what happened in the front office.

"Those aren't decisions that we make," cornerback Daryl Worley said. "We're just out here to play football."

Added safety Kurt Coleman: "At the end of the day, there's only so much you can control, and I definitely don't have that type of pay-grade to go up there and do that."

Neither did Greg Olsen, even if Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson wasn't fond of how Gettleman handled his Pro Bowl tight end's request for a contract extension.

After thinking about holding out from the start of camp, Olsen showed up Tuesday morning, an on-time arrival that really was expected considering his character. And while he wouldn't rule out doing things differently if Gettleman were still around, Olsen also claimed there wasn't an unbearable amount of tension between the two. 

"My relationship with Dave was fine," Olsen said. "Obviously, we might not have always seen eye-to-eye on certain things, but as far as the respect level between the two of us, I didn't think it was an issue.

"So as far as any personal grudges or any animosity that grew from all this, it's just not the case."

Like Olsen, Kalil was brought to the Carolinas by the Panthers' new-ish GM. So in many ways, Marty Hurney's return makes some things in Spartanburg somewhat normal, even if the week leading up to camp was anything but.

"I think at this juncture, when it happened, is not as disruptive as if it would've happened right before the draft. The roster's pretty much set for the most part," Kalil said.

"Obviously, I think it was a surprise to a lot of players having your GM be let go a week before camp. But it's the NFL - things happen. It happens to players all the time. Fortunately for us, I think it was a smart move to bring Marty back and have that familiarity in a guy who I thought was a competent GM to begin with."

View photos of players as they report to Panthers training camp at Wofford College.

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