Close relationship caused Panthers, Bills GMs to make a fair deal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brandon Beane and Marty Hurney worked side by side for the Carolina Panthers from 1998 until Hurney was fired as the general manager five games into the 2012 season.

Beane has such respect and admiration for Hurney -- and the Carolina organization in general -- that “my voice cracks a little bit when I talk about how appreciative I am."

So when Hurney, now back as the Panthers' interim general manager, reached out to Beane, now the general manager of the Buffalo Bills, for a trade the week before the season opener, both had a few laughs.

And a goal.

“The funny thing was both of us didn’t want to feel like we were trying to screw the other over," Beane said Tuesday as he looked ahead to Sunday’s game between the Bills and Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. “So we were talking back and forth, trying to make what was a fair deal."

On Sept. 2, the Panthers got cornerback Kevon Seymour, Buffalo’s sixth-round pick in 2016. Buffalo got wide receiver Kaelin Clay, a 2015 sixth-round pick by Tampa Bay, and Carolina’s seventh-round pick in 2019.

“I thought it was a win-win," Beane said. “You don’t worry about it as much with somebody else. But when you have the relationship and respect that I have for Marty, and for the whole organization, the last thing you want to do is something where they think, ‘Man, you really tried to take advantage of them.’"

Beane joined the Panthers in 1998 as part of a four-week public relations internship. He was named the assistant general manager to Dave Gettleman in 2015.

Beane was hired in May by Buffalo, which in January hired Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as its head coach.

Gettleman was fired the week before training camp and Hurney was hired as the interim general manager with the task to hire a full-time GM after the season.

“I thought that was the perfect guy to bring back," Beane said. “He hired [Panthers coach] Ron [Rivera]. He knows a lot of the players. He knows the staff. There weren’t really any changes from when Dave took over. I was excited Marty got another shot."

While Beane believes he was next in line for the general manager job at Carolina, he has no regrets about leaving. He also has no plans to be a candidate to return.

“When I made this decision, it was a family decision," said Beane, a native of North Carolina. “When I made this decision to come to Buffalo, there were a lot of factors and I made this for the long term."

“Yes, I felt like I was next in line if I stayed," Beane added. "But I really felt this opportunity was the next right step for me."

Beane knows it will be strange Sunday being at Bank of America Stadium with the visiting team. But he looks forward to seeing a lot of old friends and colleagues. He plans to spend some time Saturday night with them.

He called his decision to sign defensive end Mario Addison off the Washington practice squad his proudest move with the Panthers. Addison went from a special-teams star to the team’s sacks leader (9.5) last season.

Beane signed former Carolina fullback Mike Tolbert and quarterback Joe Webb to help develop a locker-room culture at Buffalo similar to what he experienced at Carolina.

But on Sunday, Beane won’t be looking for a win-win scenario.

He'll be looking for a win.