David Gettleman's firing by the Panthers before the 2017 season rattled the football world, butby the move. DeAngelo Williams, who was a running back for the Panthers from 2006 until he was allowed to walk in free agency after the 2014 season, didn't hide his feelings after Gettleman got the ax.
Gettleman took over the team before the 2013 season, and most of his early moves were gutting "bad" contracts that the team had under Marty Hurney (who is the Panthers' interim GM again as they search for a new owner). Williams, however, was not shy about the way Gettleman handled the contracts of himself and Steve Smith, the greatest player in Panthers history.
On Wednesday on Radio Row at the Super Bowl, Williams said he'd tell Giants players on what to expect from Gettleman to CBS Sports' own "Boomer and Gio" on Radio Row in Minneapolis.
"He's your problem now. That's exactly what I'd tell them. For the vet players that are there now, be very cautious. Once he gets his guys in there, then he develops that relationship with them, and not developing a relationship with the guys that are already there because he doesn't know them."
Williams referenced himself and Smith.
When you're down in that locker room you are family ... If I'm friends with you or I'm a family member of yours, when I call you into the office to release you, I handle it in a family member type way," Williams said. "Like, 'Hey, we really appreciate everything you've done for this organization, really loved everything you're doing,' it's more like breaking up with your girlfriend, 'it's not you, it's me.' Whatever excuses you give.
When you come into an office somebody handling business, 'Hey man, you're gone.' Like, wait, what? ... Nine years. I been here for nine years, I played through injuries ... I give everything you possibly can for an organization and the way they let you go is 'Hey man, you're out of here.' They let Steve (Smith) go through a text message.
It's fair to say not everyone would agree with Williams' statements, as the player perspective often differs from the fan one. Williams and fellow running back Jonathan Stewart were signed to blockbuster contracts within two years of each other, which is part of what rubbed people the wrong way with Hurney. Gettleman, however, seemed to completely discount legacy in reworking deals, which naturally bothered legacy players.
Williams' anger toward the Panthers also stems from his account.
Gettleman's success in Carolina, of course, was undeniable. The Panthers went 15-1 in 2015 and found themselves in a Super Bowl. However, his firing indicates that for ownership, at least previous ownership, a balance is key., Gettleman has the pressure of the New York media. His pragmatism is notable, but if he's smart, he'll look at what happened when Ben McAdoo benched Eli Manning and before he makes any major moves.