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Panthers fire general manager Hurney

(Reuters) - The Carolina Panthers have fired general manager Marty Hurney after losing five of their first six games this season, the NFL team said on Monday.

Hurney had been general manager of the Panthers since 2002 and was part of the staff when Carolina made the Super Bowl in the 2003 season, losing to the New England Patriots.

Team owner Jerry Richardson released a statement on Monday, saying it was an "extremely difficult" decision to let him go.

"Marty made every effort to bring success to the Panthers and took the team to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games," Richardson said.

"Unfortunately, we have not enjoyed the success we hoped for in recent years. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Marty and will always appreciate the way he tirelessly served the organization."

The Panthers, who joined the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1995, have not reached the playoffs since the 2008 season but had hoped quarterback Cam Newton, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, would help change their fortunes.

Newton, named Rookie of the Year last season after passing for a record 4,051 yards, showed his frustration after Sunday's home loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

"This taste, this vibe — I'm not buying it, man. And I don't know what it is, but something's going to have to change," he told a news conference.

"Something's going to have to change real fast."

Hurney said he understood Richardson's decision and hoped his exit would help bring about improvements in the team's results.

"As general manager I will always regret not helping us win the Super Bowl or having back-to-back winning seasons," he said in a statement.

"I hope this change starts accomplishing the direction to those goals."

The Panthers did not say who would replace Hurney. Their next game is away to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

(Reporting By Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Julian Linden)

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