- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 21, 2002

ORLANDO, Fla. It has been a remarkable climb to power for Marty Hurney. Fifteen years ago, he was covering the Washington Redskins for The Washington Times. Today he's the general manager of the Carolina Panthers.
"I never thought about doing something like this when I was covering the Redskins, but I've always enjoyed being around football," said Hurney, 46, who began his NFL career as a Redskins public relations assistant in 1988. "When I came off the beat after the 1987 season, I didn't know what I was going to do and then Mr. [Jack Kent] Cooke [the late Redskins owner] called me and asked if I wanted to work for the team. It was probably at the urging of [then-Redskins GM] Bobby Beathard."
Beathard wasn't the only one to spot something different about Hurney.
"Marty always had the ability to look at the bigger picture," said Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union, who used to compete against Hurney while with the Baltimore Sun.
And once Hurney was wearing team colors, he never looked back. He remained with the Redskins public relations staff until 1991, when Beathard after a two-year stint at NBC became San Diego's GM. Like fellow former newspaperman-turned-GM Ernie Accorsi of the New York Giants and Baltimore coach Brian Billick, a one-time public relations guy for San Francisco, Hurney worked his way up the NFL ladder.
Hurney's first job with the Chargers was as Beathard's right-hand man. When the salary cap was imposed in 1994, Hurney became the team's numbers cruncher and also began to negotiate some player contracts.
In 1998, the Wheaton native was looking to move back East and was hired by Carolina to be its cap guru. He gradually assumed more responsibilities although never getting involved in scouting or player evaluation until this winter following the firing of coach George Seifert. Hurney was instrumental in the hiring of new coach John Fox and now oversees all aspects of the organization.
"Marty becoming the GM didn't surprise me because I've been around him in a different capacity the last four years," said Panthers public relations director Charlie Dayton, Hurney's former boss in Washington. "And we had stayed in touch when he was in San Diego as he kept gaining more responsibility. It would probably be different if Marty had been covering us six months ago and was now the GM. Our relationship has changed, but what hasn't changed is that Marty is such a good person."
Hurney said his new title isn't that big a deal since he had been performing many of the GM's duties already, adding, "I haven't done anything. We haven't won a game yet."
Carolina lost its final 15 games last season and is a major reclamation project, but maybe one day Hurney will be running a Super Bowl participant instead of covering one. After all it was just 14 months ago that Billick's Ravens beat Accorsi's Giants for the Super Bowl title.


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