Panthers fire Dave Gettleman; DeAngelo Williams happy 'snake' out of job

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have fired general manager Dave Gettleman effective immediately, the team announced Monday.

The move comes nine days before the Panthers are scheduled to report to training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The team offered no immediate reason for Gettleman's dismissal.

Gettleman parted ways with several of Carolina's all-time best players in wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., running back DeAngelo Williams and cornerback Josh Norman.

Williams, Smith, the Panthers' all-time leading wide receiver (12,197 yards), and Norman, who was released during the 2016 offseason after making the Pro Bowl in 2016, all responded to Gettleman's dismissal on Twitter.

Williams, currently a free agent, had recently told ESPN's Adam Schefter that there were four teams he would not consider playing for -- the Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and the Panthers. Carolina apparently is now an option again in Williams' mind with Gettleman's firing.

Gettleman's firing comes as two of the team's more prominent players are seeking contract extensions. Linebacker Thomas Davis is in the final year of his contract and was hoping for an extension before the start of training camp. Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen is also hopeful of an extension, although he has two years left on his current deal.

The Panthers were 40-23-1 under Gettleman's leadership, making the playoffs each season from 2013 to 2015, with the general manager being instrumental in the Panthers' going 15-1 and reaching the Super Bowl during the 2015 season. But Carolina took a step back last season, going 6-10 and finishing last in the NFC South.

"After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager," team owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement. "I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons. While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed."

Only four teams -- the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers -- won more playoff games than the Panthers (three victories) did in Dave Gettleman's four seasons.

Whoever is hired to replace Gettleman will be the third general manager whom head coach Ron Rivera will have worked with, as he was already in his position when Gettleman was hired.

Richardson did not say who would be responsible for personnel in the interim. The Panthers are also without a team president after Danny Morrison resigned in February.

Former assistant general manager Brandon Beane left in May to become the? Buffalo Bills' general manager, reuniting him with Sean McDermott, who was Carolina's defensive coordinator for six seasons (2011-16).

Gettleman has more than 30 years of NFL experience, mostly in scouting departments with the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.