Marty Hurney was fired as general manager of the Carolina Panthers this week, and sports writers everywhere should feel a little sad.
He was one of us -- one who managed to make the jump from writing on the sports pages to being written about.
Hurney, a Good Counsel High School and Catholic University graduate, is a former sports writer for the Washington Times who made the leap to the other side -- from observer to participant.
Former sports writers have gone on to build World Series champions and NFL conference winners. Some have become commissioners.
Hurney was a top-notch beat writer who covered the Redskins and developed a working relationship with general manager Bobby Beathard. He mastered the salary cap business of the league and went with Beathard to the San Diego Chargers, where he learned the NFL front office business.
He moved to the Panthers in 1998 and took the general manager position in 2002. He was named one of the top 10 executives in professional sports by Forbes in 2007, but he couldn't survive the Panthers' woes of late.
Too bad. He may be the last of his breed.
Ernie Accorsi had an impressive career as an NFL executive that culminated with his tenure as GM of the New York Giants, when he led to two NFC titles and one Super Bowl appearance in 2000. He made the move to trade No. 4 overall pick Philip Rivers and three draft choices in 2004 to the San Diego Chargers for Eli Manning, building the foundation for two Giants Super Bowl titles after Accorsi retired.
Accorsi, though, started out as a sports writer. He worked for the Charlotte News, where he interviewed the real Moonlight Graham portrayed in the film "Field of Dreams." He wrote for the Baltimore Sun and the Philadelphia Inquirer, but he moved into public relations for the Baltimore Colts in 1970 and later wound up working in the front office.
Frank Cashen was a sports writer for the Baltimore News-American in the 1950s. He was hired by Jerry Hoffberger as public relations director for his two race tracks and his National Brewing Company. When Hoffberger bought the Orioles in 1965, he made Cashen executive vice president of the team. The Orioles went to four World Series and won two of them during his tenure, and later he would go to the New York Mets and build the team that went on to win the 1986 World Series.
Ford Frick was a sports writer for Hearst newspapers in the 1920s and later became president of the National League and eventually commissioner of baseball. Arch Ward was the legendary Chicago Tribune sports editor who created the baseball All-Star Game in 1933 and the All-America Football Conference. He reportedly turned down offers to be NFL commissioner.
David Kahn has made the ultimate jump -- from a sports writer for the Oregonian in the 1980s to the current president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In case any owners are reading this -- yes, I am available.