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John Fox distances himself from “personnel people”

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03: Head coach John Fox of the Carolina Panthers smiles as he walks around before the start of their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** John Fox

Streeter Lecka

John Fox has subtly criticized the direction of the Panthers’ front office before, but never as openly as last Sunday when the Panthers lost to the Saints.

Fox had just lost his starting quarterback Matt Moore for the season. He watched two rookies Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike struggle badly. A reporter asked if the team might consider signing a veteran quarterback for help.

Fox snapped back, “You’d have to ask someone in the personnel department about that,” according to the Charlotte Observer. He referred another question later to “the personnel people.”

We realize these quotes are now four days old and already created a stir in Carolina. But they didn’t receive any attention nationally (or whatever PFT is) and they deserve notice.

Fox was obviously frustrated after losing 34-3, but it was a rare to see such out-in-the-open dysfunction from the reserved head coach.

“In other words, Fox was saying without actually saying it: This isn’t my fault,” Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer writes. “A lot of these guys aren’t the guys I wanted. When I go looking for my next job -- which I’ll be doing in January -- this season shouldn’t even count.”

Fox backed off the statements the next day, seemingly realizing this wasn’t the right road to go down. He has to know it’s the wrong message to send to his team -- and his potential future employers.