CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Marty Hurney admits the "losing environment" for the Carolina Panthers must end. He won't be a part of the effort.

Hurney was fired as general manager Monday, one day after star quarterback Cam Newton expressed his frustration with a 1-5 start. The Panthers have the worst record in the NFC in a season that began with big expectations. But a 19-14 loss to Dallas was Carolina's fourth straight defeat.

Hurney, the GM since 2002, took responsibility for the team's failures.

He spoke to owner Jerry Richardson before Sunday's game and had an inkling he might be fired if the Panthers lost to the Cowboys. He met with Richardson again for two hours after the game Sunday night and was told he was fired on Monday.

"It's simple. We're 1-5. We are 1-3 at home," Hurney said. "We laid in egg in front of the Giants on national TV (a 36-7 loss) and came back the last two weeks and lost against teams we felt like we had a good chance to beat. It can't continue to go this way."

Hurney said he fought for his job, but in the end couldn't blame Richardson. Hurney added he thinks the Panthers need more leadership.

"I think we need somebody to step up in the locker room and take hold," Hurney said. "I think there are people capable of that. I think we need some players to step up and say enough is enough."

Newton experienced virtually no losses before becoming a pro, and he was the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year. But this season has been a struggle, and he seemed at a loss for solutions Sunday.

"Well everybody's looking at it, it's not just me," he said. "(We) try to find ways to keep games close and whether it's me, I don't know. Whether it's the coordinator, I don't know ... but we've got to find a way to change that."

The first change came in the front office. Brandon Beane, the team's director of football operations, will handle day-to-day football matters until a new GM is hired. However, coach Ron Rivera said when it comes to personnel decisions he'll have final say in matters for now.

"If a decision has to be made involving the football team and players, it will all stop with me," Rivera said, who added he was surprised by the move.

Rivera said at this point no assistant coaches have been fired, but wouldn't rule that out.

"We're all being evaluated," said Rivera, who was hired by Hurney in 2011.

Hurney doesn't expect Richardson to hire a new general manager until after the season. Richardson could bring in an experienced interim personnel man to evaluate the team.

Hurney said he regrets not winning a Super Bowl in Carolina – they lost 32-29 to New England for the 2003 title – and the team's inability to post back-to-back winning seasons.

"I hope this change starts accomplishing the direction to those goals," Hurney said. "I am responsible for everybody in coaching, the players, the scouts and everybody in football operations. After six weeks, we are 1-5 coming off a 6-10 season."

Hurney was general manager when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl and the NFC championship games in the 2003 and 2005 seasons, as well as winning the NFC South in 2008.

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

Hurney was well liked and respected within the organization, but his personnel decisions in the draft and in free agency were routinely criticized by fans tired of the Panthers' losing ways.

Defensive end Charles Johnson, the team's highest-paid player, said on Twitter: "Marty wasn't the reason we are losing! ... Unbelievable!"

Carolina's last playoff victory came in 2005 when it reached the NFC championship game before losing at Seattle. The Panthers appeared to turn things around in 2008 when they won the NFC South and earned a first-round bye before getting upset 33-13 at home by the Arizona Cardinals. They haven't been back to the playoffs since.

Hurney's philosophy has been to build through the draft and re-sign proven players rather than going after high-priced free agents. But the team wasted a number of high draft picks through the years.

The personnel blunder fans that angered fans most was giving 34-year-old quarterback Jake Delhomme a five-year, $42.5 million contract months after he turned over the ball over six times in the playoff loss to Arizona.

Delhomme started 2009 with a five-turnover game against Philadelphia and was cut after the season. Delhomme cost the Panthers $12 million under the salary cap in 2009 even though he was no longer on the roster.

Eric Shelton, Dwayne Jarrett, Jimmy Clausen and Everette Brown were all drafted in the second round, but failed to meet expectations. Brown, in particular, was a costly choice in 2009 because the Panthers gave up their first-round pick the following year to San Francisco to get him. Brown lasted only two seasons in Carolina.

Hurney also was criticized for giving big contracts to keep the team's core intact following a 2-14 season in 2010.

He did well with first-round draft picks Jordan Gross, Jon Beason, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Gamble and Newton, last year's No. 1 overall pick.

___

AP Sports Writer Arnie Stapleton in Denver contributed to this report.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • WR Charles Rogers, Detriot Lions

    Rogers was the second overall pick in the 2003 draft. After scoring three touchdowns in his first five games, the former Michigan State receiver broke his collar bone and was injured for the rest of the season. He hurt his collar bone again in the first game of the following season. Rogers was later suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy and was charged with assault and battery in 2008.

  • QB JaMarcus Russell, Oakland Raiders

    Russell was the first pick in the 2007 draft and has never looked like a No. 1 selection. After two years, Russell was benched for Bruce Gradkowski. That should be enough to declare him as a huge draft bust. But just in case, the former LSU Tiger recorded a 48.8% completion percentage, a 50.0 quarterback rating, 11 interceptions and just three touchdown passes in 2009.

  • QB Joey Harrington, Detroit Lions

    The Lions chose Harrington with the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, hoping that he would be a franchise quarterback. Well, they didn't get what they were looking for. The former Oregon Duck never got comfortable in Detroit, leading the Lions to a 3-13 record in 2002. Even in his best year (2004, when he threw for over 3,000 yards), Detroit finished 6-10. Harrington landed on the Miami Dolphins in 2006 and then the Atlanta Falcons in 2007. He is now a backup for the New Orleans Saints.

  • QB Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

    Alex Smith was picked first overall in the 2005 draft. He was chosen before Aaron Rodgers, DeMarcus Ware and Shawne Merriman. He threw one touchdown pass and 11 interceptions in his rookie year. The 49ers lost him for the 2007 season after a shoulder injury. Luckily for Smith, San Francisco hasn't given up on him yet, but eventual abandonment may be inevitable.

  • OT Mike Williams, Buffalo Bills

    Williams was the fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft out of the University of Texas. He never made an immediate impact, suffered multiple injuries and was cut from Buffalo after the 2005 season. He weighed 400 pounds when he was picked up by the Washington Redskins in 2009. This bust was drafted before Brian Westbrook, Albert Haynesworth and Ed Reed.

  • QB David Carr, Houston Texans

    David Carr was selected out of Fresno State as the first overall pick in the 2002 draft. Defenses beat him down for the next five years in Houston. In a brutal rookie campaign, Carr was sacked 76 times, an NFL record. He never led the Texans to more than sevens wins in a season (just once in 2004) and was released after the 2006 season. He is now a backup for the New York Giants.

  • WR David Terrell, Chicago Bears

    The Bears drafted Terrell as the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft. He was the first wide receiver chosen as well. In fact, Terrell was picked before Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith and Santana Moss. Terrell, drafted out of Michigan, scored four touchdowns in his rookie year, but never recorded more than that in a single season ever again.

  • DE Courtney Brown, Cleveland Browns

    Cleveland selected Courtney Brown as the first overall pick in the 2000 draft, but the defensive end never lived up to expectations. Although he recorded 4.5 sacks and 70 tackles in his rookie season, he had problems staying healthy throughout the rest of his career. After becoming the 11th defensive end to be the No. 1 overall pick in draft history, Brown tore his ACL in 2006 as a member of the Denver Broncos and retired in 2007.

  • DT Dewayne Robertson, New York Jets

    In 2003, the Jets selected Robertson with the fourth overall pick in the draft. This pick wound up being a bust because New York traded two first-round selections for him. He skipped his senior season at Kentucky to enter the draft. Robertson played in every game during his rookie year, but only recorded 1.5 sacks. After it was clear he would never be the productive defensive tackle the Jets were hoping for, they traded him in 2008 to the Broncos for a conditional '09 draft pick.

  • WR Reggie Williams, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Reggie Williams was selected ninth overall by the Jaguars in the 2004 draft. Besides his only good season in 2007 in which he scored 10 touchdowns, Williams only scored eight total touchdowns in his four other years with Jacksonville. He has also ran into plenty of trouble off of the field. Since 2006, Williams has been arrested for marijuana possession, a DWI, and felony drug charges.

  • DT Ryan Sims, Kansas City Chiefs

    The Chiefs picked Sims as the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft, even though Albert Haynesworth was still available. In five season with Kansas City, Sims only recorded five sacks. He has just 3.5 sacks in three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • WR Mike Williams, Detroit Lions

    You know a wide receiver is a bust when he was a top 10 pick, but his most productive season was his rookie year when he recorded just 29 receptions, 350 yards and only one touchdown. In 2005, Detroit drafted Williams out of USC with the 10th overall pick. He was traded to Tennessee in 2007, but never caught a pass. He was later traded to Oakland mid-way through the 2007 season and only caught seven passes.

  • WR Peter Warrick, Cincinnati Bengals

    The Bengals selected Warrick as the fourth overall pick in the 2000 draft. Warrick, a former Florida State Seminole, scored seven touchdowns in 2003, but was replaced by T.J Houshmandzadeh and released after the 2005 season. After playing in New England and Seattle, Warrick made his way to the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League and the United Football League.

  • OT Robert Gallery, Oakland Raiders

    Robert Gallery was the second overall pick in the 2004 draft out of Iowa. <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1031881/index.htm" target="_hplink">Peter King of Sports Illustrated</a> called him "the best lineman to come out of college in years." He happened to be awful at the tackle position, so he moved to offensive guard. Gallery has been in the league for seven years and hasn't been anything close to productive.