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Ex-Panther Beason: Gettleman accused me of faking injury

Sporting News logo Sporting News 7/17/2017 Ron Clements
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Before the Panthers had Luke Kuechly roaming the middle of their defense, Jon Beason was the defensive leader.

Beason went to three Pro Bowls with the Panthers, who selected him in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. After his third straight Pro Bowl season in 2010, a September Achilles injury cost Beason all but one game of the 2011 season.

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Speaking Monday following the surprising firing of Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, Beason said Gettleman questioned whether the former linebacker was even injured.

Beason told Charlotte radio station WFNZ Gettleman said there was nothing wrong with his leg and he would play regardless. Despite Gettleman's doubts, Beason did not play the rest of 2011.

Gettleman's firing was celebrated by former Panthers DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith and Josh Norman, who were all unceremoniously shown the door in Carolina by Gettleman. Beason said he was shocked by Gettleman's firing, but does not hold any ill will.

"I moved on and wished the team well," he told WFNZ. "I was happy for the players to go to the Super Bowl."

Beason's injury led the Panthers to select Kuechly in the first round of the 2012 draft and he was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year as Beason lost his starting job to Chase Blackburn. Beason was traded to the Giants in 2013 and said Gettleman's firing sort of brings everything "full circle."

"The way that the trade went down between the Giants and the Panthers when I moved on from the Carolina Panthers, it was done in a way that wasn't classy," Beason told CBS Sports. "I didn't want to be the disgruntled player who's saying this, saying that because he was traded. But at the end of the day, you're a first-round pick, you played extremely well for an organization, you're one of the key guys on the team, a new GM comes in and doesn't even give you a handshake on your way out the door.

Beason said there was a disconnect between Gettleman and Panthers coach Ron Rivera, so Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, whom Beason called "Big Cat," stepped in. Beason said the disconnect was with how Gettleman treated players and he and Richardson did not have a great relationship.

"Knowing Big Cat, Jerry Richardson, the owner of the Panthers, he's a guy who will not be dictated to at all," said Beason, who played in just 21 games over three seasons for the Giants before retiring following the 2015 season. "He's very fair. I know that when it comes to being general manger, he wants those guys to just go do their thing. But when he has to step in, at some point, there has to be a level of respect there on both parties. And it can't be, "Hey listen, I'm the GM. I'm running it this way. If you don't like it, let me go.'

"There's guys that are on that team, in that locker room, that basically felt like this is who Gettleman was and he was almost on this ego trip."

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