Accorsi narrowed his initial list of candidates to five – Giants executives Dave Gettleman and Marc Ross, Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson, Montreal Alouettes GM Jim Popp and Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton.
NFL rules prohibited the Panthers from talking to candidates from other teams until that team’s season ended. Accorsi said they considered bringing in Popp for an early interview, but decided to meet with all the candidates in January.
Paton informed the Panthers he was staying in Minnesota and turned down the interview. Despite outside perceptions that Accorsi hand-picked Gettleman, his friend and longtime colleague, Accorsi said everyone was on equal ground.
“I wasn’t going to sell anyone. First of all, that wasn’t going to work with Jerry Richardson,” Accorsi said. “Secondly, I have a lot of pride in my own integrity and I wasn’t going to do something like that.”
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