Panthers' new GM Gettleman ready to take charge


Panthers' new GM Gettleman ready to take charge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is confident new general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera are the right men to ``fix things'' in Carolina.

The Panthers haven't been to the postseason since 2008 and haven't won a playoff game since 2005. Richardson said he's counting on both to change that trend soon.

``I think his experience will not only benefit the organization, but will be terrific for Ron at this time of his career,'' Richardson said.

Richardson introduced Gettleman at a news conference Tuesday, saying he likes that his new GM comes from a winning organization like the New York Giants. Gettleman has been to six Super Bowls with Buffalo, Denver and the Giants and has won three championships.

Gettleman, wearing a suit, glasses and Super Bowl ring on his right hand told Richardson through his thick Boston accent, ``if we do this right, you and I will be holding up a trophy.''

The 61-year-old Gettleman said he wondered if this opportunity would ever come after spending 25 years in the league but continuously being passed over for interviews.

``The say good things come to those who wait and I feel like this is absolutely the perfect fit for me,'' Gettleman said. ``... It was time for me to move to significance and a lot of that is thinking about legacy. What is your legacy?''

Gettleman admitted to being frustrated that he was never granted any interview opportunities for general manager positions around the league despite his past success. He took a calculated gamble last year, asking Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch if he could take a step back from his role with the team to focus on his future.

Gettleman wanted to step away from the day-to-day grind of evaluating personnel to get a broader scope of the league, which he felt might help him land a GM position.

He said he wanted to move ``from success to significance.''

It paid off.

Now he said he feels like he's hit the lottery in Carolina.

Current Giants GM Jerry Reese said Gettleman's legacy in New York as a personnel evaluator is outstanding and called him a terrific hire for the Panthers.

``Wherever he goes, Super Bowls follow him,'' Reese said.

Richardson is hoping that success follows him to Carolina, a team that has the second-fewest wins in the league since 2010 with 15.

Richardson didn't address reporters after introducing Gettleman.

Rivera attended the press conference but the normally talkative coach only spoke only for about a minute to reporters afterward before being shuffled out of the room.

Rivera said Richardson was very forthright with him their meeting on Jan. 5, saying ``we had a great meeting and things turned out the way I was hoping.''

Rivera said didn't feel like he was on pins and needles waiting for a decision from Richardson. He felt confident the team's strong finish - the Panthers won four of their last five games - would help him keep his job.

``We had an opportunity to go through a lot of the stuff as to who we are and the opportunity we're going to have,'' Rivera said.

Gettleman did not have any input on the decision to retain Rivera. In fact, the two men never met until last week.

But Gettleman offered confidence in Rivera and the current Panthers scouting department heading into next season.

``I don't have a list of coaches in my back pocket,'' Gettleman said. ``I have no interest in that.''

Gettleman inherits a team that is $16 million over the NFL salary cap and certainly his first moves will be that of subtraction rather than addition.

He said he hasn't had a chance to fully evaluate the Panthers roster and wasn't ready to take questions about specific players.

However, he said he's excited that the Panthers have a franchise quarterback in place in Cam Newton.

As for his philosophy in terms of free agents, it's not unlike that of former general manager Marty Hurney. Gettleman said he plans to build through the draft saying ``you have to raise your own.''

He called venturing into free agency and throwing big money at marquee players ``dangerous.''

Gettleman said he believes the key to success in the NFL is making decisions ``unemotionally and objectively.''

``You have to put the proper value on the player and you get in trouble when you overpay,'' Gettleman said. ``The litmus test on the cap is when the ink is dry and you're not happy then you've made a mistake.''

Former Bills, Panthers and Colts GM Bill Polian called Gettleman a ``grinder,'' a term of respect for those in the business.

``He's a terrific evaluator and he's a hard worker,'' Polian said.

Reese said Gettleman has the skill set to be a great general manager and help lead the Panthers back to prominence.

But he added that only time will tell how successful he'll be in Carolina.

``This is a show-me business,'' Reese said. ``If he wins, he's a good GM. If he doesn't win people will say he's not a good GM. But that is what you sign up for and Dave knows that. There is no in between in this business.''


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Dwight Howard reportedly takes another positive step in post-surgery recovery

Dwight Howard reportedly takes another positive step in post-surgery recovery

Dwight Howard is back. Back in town, at least.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Wizards’ center, sidelined since undergoing back surgery on Nov. 30, is expected to start on-court work in Washington.

The original timeline indicated a 2-3 month recovery timeline for Howard, who played in nine games for the Wizards but none since Nov. 18 against Portland. Howard, 33, has primarily rehabbed post-surgery in his native Atlanta.

Washington returns to practice Wednesday following the NBA All-Star break. The Wizards, 24-34, face the Hornets Friday in Charlotte before hosting the Indiana Pacers Saturday.

Needing to jump three teams for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards could certainly use more help. Whether that help comes from Howard remains to be seen. The report did not indicate if Howard would rejoin the team's full practices or when he would return to the lineup.

Howard missed training camp, preseason and the opening seven games while dealing with back and gluteal pain. The future Hall of Famer only played seven minutes against the Trail Blazers before exiting.

Less than two weeks later Dr. Robert Watkins performed a L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy after consultation with the Wizards’ medical staff determined disc herniation was causing severe nerve irritation and gluteal pain.

Washington signed the free agent center to a two-year, $11 million contract in July after trading longtime starter Marcin Gortat in June. The Wizards hoped Howard’s interior presence on both ends of the court would provide the team with needed low-post scoring, rebounding and rim protection.

Though he averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds, Howard labored athletically. Washington struggled throughout the season on the boards.

His absence created an opportunity for second-year center Thomas Bryant, who has developed into an efficient scorer and energy provider.

The second season on Howard’s contract is a player option, an option he seemed likely to execute without returning to the court this season. For now, the question is how much can he help the Wizards with 24 games remaining.


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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

As the calendar turns toward spring, one thing consumes the NFL: mock drafts. Leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25, many will try to predict which players each of the 32 teams will select. Though no one will know for sure until the names are called, it's still interesting to see what potential directions teams might go in.

Let's take a look at what some people believe the Redskins will do with their first round pick.

ESPN's Mel Kiper's NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Drew Lock (QB, Missouri) Kiper currently has Washington taking a quarterback in the first-round, but maybe not the one people were expecting. While Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are viewed as first-round locks by many, the Missouri product's placement in the draft is not as certain. In this scenario, Kiper has Murray and Haskins off the board before Washington gets on the clock, making Lock the best available passer remaining. In his senior seaosn, Lock finished with 3,498 passing yards and 28 touchdowns.

CBS Sports' R.J. White: Devin White (ILB, LSU) Not a quarterback here. White has the Redskins using a pick on the junior linebacker. With questions surrounding what will happen with Zach Brown as well as pass-rushing linebacker Preston Smith, White could fill a need for the Redskins. 

CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) The Redskins take a passer in both of these mocks as well, just a different one. Jones, the junior from Duke, slides in at No. 15 behind both Murray and Haskins. However, Wilson also has Lock going before the Redskins pick, while Trapasso has him falling to No. 28. 

Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) More Jones here for the Redskins. The passer, who threw for 22 touchdowns in 2018, is the fourth quarterback off the board in this mock draft as Haskins, Murray and Lock all go in the top 10. 

USA Today's Luke Easterling: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Starting to see a theme here? Not only does this mock draft have the Redskins selecting Jones, but it has them moving up to No. 12 to make the selection. Easterling describes Jones as, "a raw but promising passer." 

NFL Analyst Charley Casserly: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Describing him as a passer with "excellent field vision, anticipation and accuracy," Casserly likes Jones in Washington.

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig: Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi St.) As mentioned earlier, Preston Smith's time with the burgundy and gold could be coming to an end. Sweat, who recorded 11.5 sacks last season, impressed at the Senior Bowl and could make an impact from Day 1. While many see the Redskins taking a quarterback, Standig sees inside linebacker as a priority