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Ernie Accorsi hired by Carolina Panthers as consultant

The Carolina Panthers have taken a firm first step in their search for a new general manager.

Joe Person of The Charlotte Observer reported Friday the Panthers have hired former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant in the search for Marty Hurney's replacement.

Accorsi, 71, will begin immediately. He is not in consideration for the general manager job.

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"I have a very high regard for Mr. Richardson and look forward to providing any help that I can to him and the organization in their search for a new general manager," Accorsi said in a statement, via the Observer.

Accorsi comes with a pedigree. He's the head of the NFL's General Manager committee and has served as a consultant for several teams in the past. Accorsi helped guide the Atlanta Falcons to former New England Patriots scout guru Thomas Dimitroff in 2008. Since that time, the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan and have gone 51-21 in the regular season.

Accorsi and Panthers owner Jerry Richardson have a deep history that goes back to their days with the Baltimore Colts in the early 1970s. Accorsi was the Giants' GM from 1998 to 2006, drafting Eli Manning in 2004.

The Panthers need to get this decision right. Bringing a respected guy like Accorsi on board is a smart move toward that goal.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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