Polian: Gettleman 'a terrific judge of talent'

Want to know why Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is considered such a strong evaluator of football talent?

Just ask the team's first general manager.

Bill Polian, now an analyst for ESPN, gave Gettleman a strong endorsement on Monday during a conference call to discuss the upcoming NFL draft.

"He will not panic,'' Polian said of Gettleman, entering his second draft as Carolina's GM. "He will not be swayed by outside noise. He will not be bothered with anything that is written or said about any prospective player. He's going to make the judgment that he's going to make based on his experience, based on his evaluation and based on the input he gets from evaluators he trusts on the staff.''

Polian, in case you didn't notice, is a big fan of Gettleman's. He should be.

Polian, as the general manager of the Buffalo Bills, gave Gettleman his first NFL job as a scout intern for the Bills in 1986. Gettleman was elevated to full-time scout in 1987 and remained there until 1993, also Polian's last year in Buffalo.

The two met years earlier when Polian was a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs. At one point they both lived within 30 minutes of each other, Gettleman in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he was a teacher and coach at Spackenkill High School and Polian in Cornwall, New York.

"He was a terrific judge of talent,'' said Polian, who was the general manager of Carolina from 1994-1997. "When he was a high school coach and we were living in the same town we talked football all the time and I recognized he had a real good grasp of what talent evaluation was. That hasn't changed. It's just grown.''