In the days leading up to training camp, the Panthers ran a series of promos declaring “Wofford is Coming,” a play on the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.”
Also in the days leading up to camp, the Panthers fired General Manager Dave Gettleman, brought back former G.M. Marty Hurney, who then let director of player personnel Mark Koncz go.
“We’ve obviously taken it too literal with the offing of major characters,” center Ryan Kalil joked, via Bill Voth of the team’s official website.
(Full disclosure: I’ve never seen the show. But I’m told by people who have that this joke by Kalil was appropriate, topical, and clever.)
While the last week and a half have been a bit of a whirlwind for the Panthers, the roster is largely the same, and thus very familiar to Hurney, who put big chunks of it together.
And give Kalil credit for cracking a joke (even if we don’t get it) at a time which might otherwise be tense. Most players were hesitant to say too much, knowing the organizational decisions are well beyond their pay-grade.
“I think at this juncture, when it happened, is not as disruptive as if it would’ve happened right before the draft. The roster’s pretty much set for the most part,” Kalil said. “Obviously, I think it was a surprise to a lot of players having your G.M. be let go a week before camp. But it’s the NFL — things happen. It happens to players all the time. Fortunately for us, I think it was a smart move to bring Marty back and have that familiarity in a guy who I thought was a competent G.M. to begin with.”
Of course, Kalil also knows enough about self-preservation to stay on Hurney’s good side, lest he get invited to the next Red Wedding. (Or something. Again, I don’t watch dragon shows so I don’t know if that’s appropriate, topical, clever, or not.)