The Carolina Panthers fired general manager Dave Gettleman on Monday, and several of the team’s former players have already begun celebrating on social media.

Panthers Dave Gettleman news

“After much thought and a long evaluation of our football operations, I have decided to relieve Dave Gettleman of his duties as general manager,” team owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement. “I want to thank Dave for the role he played in our success over the past four seasons. While the timing of this decision is not ideal, a change is needed.”

Richardson did not add who would be in charge of personnel in the interim. Whoever replaces Gettleman will become the third GM head coach Ron Rivera will have worked with.

The move comes just days before the Panthers are scheduled to begin training camp at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, 66-year-old Gettleman — who had been with the Panthers since 2013 — was in a “shaky” place with the team’s ownership. Rapoport noted “rumblings that all was not well” between Gettleman and Richardson after the GM let Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman to walk last offseason.

Norman signed a major deal with the Washington Redskins last offseason after the Panthers pulled his franchise tag.  The cornerback and two other former Carolina players — Steve Smith Sr. and DeAngelo Williams — rapidly took to Twitter to express their satisfaction with the team’s decision to terminate Gettleman, a former New York Giants executive.

Of the three, Norman was the least explicit:

Smith — who joined the NFL Network as an analyst in February after playing 16 years in the NFL — never seemed to get over the Panthers’ decision to release him before the 2014 season. The former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver tweeted a photo of himself laughing, adding the caption: “It’s OK! Dave I know how you feel… #agent89 #stevesmithsr.”


Most fans seemed to have enjoyed Smith’s reaction the most.

Finally, Williams — a free-agent running back who recently made his pro wrestling debut — brought up what he said in an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter last week: that the Panthers were one of four teams he refused to play for due to his nasty exit from the team following the 2014 season. Williams tweeted on Monday that he had changed his mind about Carolina given the firing of Gettleman, whom he called a “snake:”

Williams was released by the Panthers in March 2015 after nine seasons with the franchise, during which he broke several records including most career rushing yards (6,846).

The other three teams Williams told Shefter he would not consider playing for are the Dallas Cowboys, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Cleveland Browns. “You don’t go back to exes, and that’s just where I’m at there,” the pass rusher said in the interview.

The Panthers have lost several top executives this year. Team president Danny Morrison resigned in February, while assistant general manager Brandon Beane left in May to serve as the Buffalo Bills’ GM. Beane is now reunited with head coach Sean McDermott, who was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2016.

Gettleman previously worked as a scout for the Bills, Giants and Denver Broncos, and boasts more than 30 years of experience in the NFL. Although the Panthers finished 6-10 last season, the team did reach some success under Gettleman: Carolina made an appearance in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season, and reached the playoffs the two previous years.

The Panthers were 40-23-1 in Gettleman’s four years as GM.

The Giants won two Super Bowls (after the 2007 and 2011 seasons) with Gettleman as GM.

CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 13: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers yells for his team to get back to their sidelie after being call for unsportsmanlike conduct during their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 38-0. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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