Posted by Will Brinson
Jerry Richardson held his first full-media press conference on Tuesday in quite some time, and offered to answer any questions the media had about, well, anything.
He discussed the Panthers coaching search some, but primarily deferred to general manager Marty Hurney when discussing potential candidates. Perhaps the most interesting part of his answers was his reaction to the labor negotiations.
"I'm personally not as optimistic as some are that we are making much progress," Richardson said when asked about the collective bargaining agreement.
Richardson is the at the front of the labor negotiations and, as such, has trimmed payroll to lead by example for other owners. Part of that means leaving a slew of free agents out there, including stars like DeAngelo Williams.
Even the most important pieces of the franchise, however, shouldn't expect to see any new money from Richardson and Hurney any time soon though.
"No," Richardson answered when asked if any new deals would be reached before a new CBA.
However, that doesn't preclude the Panthers from stockpiling via the draft, and Richardson may have dropped a hint as to the Panthers plans with the No. 1 overall pick (although that largely depends on whether Andrew Luck leaves school, one could argue).
"I think it would be somewhat unusual for us to trade down in this particular case," Richardson said when asked if the Panthers would entertain offers for the No. 1 pick.
The way he said it, too, seemed to indicate that he understands what the 'Cats need badly (a quarterback) and what will likely be available with that top spot (Luck, a stud quarterback).
One thing seems certain, though -- Richardson wasn't posturing to try and land Jim Harbaugh, Stanford's head coach and the hottest NFL coaching candidate we've seen in quite some time (who may or may not actually be leaving).
Richardson stated emphatically that he had not had any contact with Harbaugh, even at one point reading from the local paper and mocking "sources" that indicate otherwise. Hurney indicated the team would certainly consider a college coach, but they hired Fox from an assistant coach position and, as Hurney said, "it worked out the last time."
Well, it didn't exactly "work out" -- Fox is gone. And apparently could have been gone a while ago.
"If we look at John Fox's tenure, he did an outstanding job in a number of ways," Richardson said. "But the facts are in nine years we had three winning seasons and we failed to have two winning seasons back-to-back."
Whatever current assistant is hired -- and you can all but guarantee that the Panthers will hire one -- better be confident he can put a streak like that together. Otherwise he probably won't last as long as Fox.
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