ESPN’s NFL Insiders (3-4 p.m. ET, ESPN) draws upon the expertise of former front office executives and seasoned journalists. Contributor Marty Hurney happens to have experience as both.
A former Carolina Panthers general manager (2002-2012), Hurney got his NFL start covering the Washington Redskins as a self-described “news nuts and bolts guy” for the Washington Times. As a reporter, he soaked up some important knowledge from then general manager Bobby Beathard.
“I would sit in Bobby’s office and we would be having an interview and a call would come in from an agent and Bobby is the type that would never ask you to leave. He would just have the conversation there and you would listen,” Hurney recalled. “I learned how an NFL franchise operated from a front office perspective.”
Citing Beathard as the reason he got into the NFL, Hurney made the transition from covering the team to serving in its public relations department. He then spent eight years in the San Diego Chargers front office before joining the Panthers in 1988. Named general manager four years later, Hurney guided the organization to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
“The year we got to the Super Bowl was probably your biggest accomplishment, but you always live with the fact that you didn’t win,” Hurney said. “I have never watched that Super Bowl since. I can’t. It’s too painful.”
Fonder memories for Hurney include the relationships he developed with [current NFL head coaches] John Fox, Ron Rivera and so many others.
“The people that you meet, the players who keep you young, the coaches, the scouts you work with, the owners, everybody in the building. Every day is such a competitive atmosphere, you bond very closely… I think that those relationships that you make last forever.”
During his decade-long tenure as Panthers’ GM, Hurney also got to know ESPN senior writer John Clayton.
“[John] always talked about trends in the league and where the league was going,” Hurney recalled. “John was somebody that you got as much information from him as he got from you. He put so much work into it. And [he] studies this league so intensely from several unique points of view that it was fun talking to him because it made you open your mind up a little bit and look at things from different perspectives.”
Now as a regular contributor to NFL Insiders, Hurney looks forward to sharing insights gleaned from years of experience both as a reporter and a general manager.