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Diversity of experience and ethnicity in Carolina Panthers GM search
Four Black candidates among 15 considered
Published Tuesday, January 12, 2021 9:00 am
by Herbert L. White

Former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese is one of 15 candidates under consideration by the Carolina Panthers for their vacant position. Reese, one of four Black contenders for the job, won two Super Bowls as the Giants’ GM.

Among the candidates for the Carolina Panthers’ open general manager’s job are four African Americans.

Cleveland Browns vice president of football operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Chicago Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, Kansas City Chiefs player personnel assistant director Ryan Poles, and former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese are among 15 contenders for the job. Carolina fired Marty Hurney last month, making the Panthers one of six NFL teams looking to fill the general manager role.

The team says it expects to choose a new GM this week.

Reese, 57, is the most accomplished among the candidates. He helped the Giants win a pair of Super Bowls as GM but was fired in 2017 along with head coach Ben McAdoo after 23 years with the franchise.

Reese was with the Giants when Panthers head coach Matt Rhule was an assistant.

Adofo-Mensah, 39, is a former Wall Street trader whose analytical approach– a subject Panthers owner David Tepper first brought up last year during the search for a head coach – is a different approach to football operations.

He spent seven years with San Francisco as director of football research and development before joining the Browns last year.

Poles has been with the Chiefs since 2009, rising up the scouting ranks to department director in 2017.

The Panthers met with executives Scott Fitterer of the Seattle Seahawks and Omar Khan of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, the 14th and 15th candidates to interview for their vacant general manager position.

Fitterer joined the Seahawks in 2001 and is currently a vice president of football operations, essentially a co-assistant GM under John Schneider.

Khan is Pittsburgh’s vice president of football and business administration. He overlapped there with Panthers owner David Tepper, who was formerly a minority owner with the Steelers.

The Panthers previously interviewed 13 others to replace Hurney, including two in-house candidates — director of player negotiations and salary cap manager Samir Suleiman and director of player personnel Pat Stewart.

Suleiman came to the Panthers from the Steelers and has also worked for the Rams and Jaguars, in addition to a stint with the league’s Management Council. Stewart spent two years with the Eagles and 11 with the Patriots. He worked with Rhule at two stops in college (Western Carolina and Temple).

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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