Cam Newton

If the Panthers win it all this season, he won't receive a Super Bowl ring. But he played a major role in assembling the team with the best regular season record in 2015, acquiring eight of the 10 Pro Bowlers on the roster, including likely MVP Cam Newton, and hiring Ron Rivera, the likely Coach of the Year.

Reached by phone, former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney declined to comment on his role in constructing the 15-1 Panthers, modestly saying all credit should go to current Carolina GM Dave Gettleman.

"That's the kind of guy Marty is," said former general manager Bobby Beathard, who guided the Redskins to three Super Bowls.

Marty Hurney

Hurney, who was hired in 2002 and fired in 2012 following Carolina's 1-5 start, could've taken a less humble tone, considering he drafted:

• linebacker Thomas Davis (first round, 14th overall in 2005),

• center Ryan Kalil (second round, 59th overall in 2007),

• running back Jonathan Stewart (first round, 13th overall in 2008),

• quarterback Newton (first round, first overall in 2011),

• linebacker Luke Kuechly (first round, ninth overall in 2012),

• cornerback Josh Norman (fifth round, 143rd overall in 2012).

He also shrewdly traded a third-round pick for tight end Greg Olsen and signed fullback Mike Tolbert in 2012 free agency. Those deals are further proof of Hurney's prominent role in building a squad that has reached the NFC Championship Game.

"I would agree," Beathard said. "He's a very sharp guy."

Beathard, who became general manager of the Chargers after his 11-year stint with the Redskins, brought Hurney into the executive ranks of the NFL world.

Ron Rivera and Josh Norman

A journalist by trade, Hurney worked for the Montgomery Journal in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1978 he moved to The Washington Star. After covering the Redskins for The Washington Times, the former college football player at Catholic University in Washington D.C. began the unusual career jump from sports writer to NFL general manager. That path was more common in the early 20th century but is nearly unheard of in modern-day sports.

Hurney, though, impressed Beathard as a reporter. While other writers focused on churning out copy to meet deadline, he had an intellectual curiosity and took time to delve into deeper topics. He became particularly intrigued with scouting and the draft, how they picked players and -- especially -- the financial ramifications of those moves.

"He was always more interested than everyone else," Beathard said. "His interest went beyond getting the story, and we became pretty good friends."

Hurney started working for the Redskins' public relations department, and then in 1990, Beathard brought him to San Diego where Hurney negotiated player contracts and served as a capologist.

"He knew how the cap worked inside and out," Beathard said. "We couldn't do anything without going to Marty … He was like a genius at getting the numbers worked out."

The salary cap was Hurney's specialty, but Beathard introduced to him to the scouting world by having him check out prospects at local schools, and Hurney showed an aptitude for evaluating talent on what would become the Chargers' Super Bowl XXIX team.

Luke Kuechly

Impressed by Hurney's credentials, the Panthers called Beathard for a recommendation. The Panthers hired him in 1998 after GM Bill Polian left for Indianapolis. After starting as a salary cap expert, Hurney was promoted to Panthers GM in 2002.

With Carolina he drafted three Offensive or Defensive Rookies of the Year: Julius Peppers, Newton and Kuechly. In 2015 those stars had 10.5 sacks, 45 total touchdowns and 118 tackles, respectively.

He also signed quarterback Jake Delhomme and running back Stephen Davis to inexpensive deals, and those free agents keyed the Panthers' 2003 Super Bowl run. Carolina narrowly lost 32-29 to the Patriots in that game, and last year Hurney questioned whether the Patriots may have cultivated a "culture for cheating" that helped them win the contest.

Jonathan Stewart

The downside of Hurney's tenure may have been a series of second-round misses, including center Bruce Nelson, wide receiver Keary Colbert, running back Eric Shelton, wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, defensive end Everette Brown and quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

Hurney was also criticized for spending too much on running backs, especially when the position was becoming devalued. He gave DeAngelo Williams a reported five-year, $43-million deal with $21 million guaranteed before the 2011 season and then signed Stewart to a six-year, $37 million extension with $22.5 million in guaranteed money the next season, though Williams has proven to be indispensable to the Steelers, and Stewart made his first Pro Bowl this year.

Perhaps his best decision was hiring the resilient Rivera, who had interviewed for eight previous head coaching vacancies -- only to get rejected each time.

Still close with Hurney, Beathard, whose grandson is Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, vacations with his family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (Another son, Jeff, is a college scout for the Panthers.) Bobby has invited Hurney to join them.

Greg Olsen

For his day job, Hurney, 60, has returned to his sports journalism roots. He owns ESPN 730-AM in Charlotte and hosts "Inside the Lines."

Asked if he sees himself working for an NFL team again, Hurney chuckled and said he plans to remain on the radio.

But his credentials as an architect of the Panthers would make him a worthy candidate for an NFL franchise.

"If I were a team looking for somebody, I'd certainly bring Marty in," Beathard said. "He could help you in a lot of ways."

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-- Follow Jeff Fedotin on Twitter @JFedotin.