- Associated Press - Monday, October 22, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Marty Hurney admits the “losing environment” for the Carolina Panthers must end. He won’t be a part of the effort.

Hurney was fired as general manager Monday, one day after star quarterback Cam Newton expressed his frustration with a 1-5 start. The Panthers have the worst record in the NFC in a season that began with big expectations. But a 19-14 loss to Dallas was Carolina’s fourth straight defeat.

Hurney, the GM since 2002, took responsibility for the team’s failures.

He spoke to owner Jerry Richardson before Sunday’s game and had an inkling he might be fired if the Panthers lost to the Cowboys. He met with Richardson again for two hours after the game Sunday night and was told he was fired on Monday.

“It’s simple. We’re 1-5. We are 1-3 at home,” Hurney said. “We laid in egg in front of the Giants on national TV (a 36-7 loss) and came back the last two weeks and lost against teams we felt like we had a good chance to beat. It can’t continue to go this way.”

Hurney said he fought for his job, but in the end couldn’t blame Richardson. Hurney added he thinks the Panthers need more leadership.

“I think we need somebody to step up in the locker room and take hold,” Hurney said. “I think there are people capable of that. I think we need some players to step up and say enough is enough.”

Newton experienced virtually no losses before becoming a pro, and he was the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year. But this season has been a struggle, and he seemed at a loss for solutions Sunday.

“Well everybody’s looking at it, it’s not just me,” he said. “(We) try to find ways to keep games close and whether it’s me, I don’t know. Whether it’s the coordinator, I don’t know … but we’ve got to find a way to change that.”

The first change came in the front office. Brandon Beane, the team’s director of football operations, will handle day-to-day football matters until a new GM is hired. However, coach Ron Rivera said when it comes to personnel decisions he’ll have final say in matters for now.

“If a decision has to be made involving the football team and players, it will all stop with me,” Rivera said, who added he was surprised by the move.

Rivera said at this point no assistant coaches have been fired, but wouldn’t rule that out.

“We’re all being evaluated,” said Rivera, who was hired by Hurney in 2011.

Hurney doesn’t expect Richardson to hire a new general manager until after the season. Richardson could bring in an experienced interim personnel man to evaluate the team.

Hurney said he regrets not winning a Super Bowl in Carolina _ they lost 32-29 to New England for the 2003 title _ and the team’s inability to post back-to-back winning seasons.

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