After a year, their tracks diverged; Hurney joined former Washington general manager Bobby Beathard in the Chargers' front office, while Mayhew stayed in Washington for three more seasons -- helping Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 -- before playing his final four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But about three decades later, Mayhew and Hurney are back where their careers started with a common goal: assist head coach Ron Rivera in returning the franchise to championship glory.
"When you look back, and now we're both back here in Washington, it's special to be back here in Washington working together and trying to win a Super Bowl," said Hurney, the team's new executive vice president of football/player personnel.
"It's really special," added Mayhew, who is in his first full week as general manager. "I have so many fond memories of that team and those teams that I played on for those four years and those teammates."
Mayhew understands Washington's rich history because he was a part of it. From 1989-92, the team averaged double-digit victories, made the postseason three times and won five playoff games.
The 1991 season was particularly special; playing opposite cornerback Darrell Green, with wide receiver Ark Monk and guard Russ Grimm and under head coach Joe Gibbs -- all Pro Football Hall of Famers -- Mayhew helped Washington finish the regular season 14-2, blow out its first two playoff opponents and then beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-24, for the franchise's third Super Bowl.
"It was really just the best football that I've ever been around," Mayhew told Senior Vice President of Media and Content Julie Donaldson. "It's the best I ever played, it's the best team I ever played for and the best teammates that I ever had, so just the opportunity to come back, it really was a dream of mine to be in this position."
Mayhew knew during his playing career that he wanted to be in this spot, which is why he took night classes at Georgetown Law school for a year and a half before signing with the Buccaneers in 1993. He finished his degree after retiring in 1996 and got his start interning with Washington's personnel department in 1999.
That kicked off a 20-year career as an NFL executive, including eight as the general manager of the Detroit Lions from 2008-15. He most recently served as the vice president of player personnel for the San Francisco 49ers, working closely with general manager John Lynch to help build a roster that appeared in last year's Super Bowl.
"I remember him being a very smart player and a guy who knew what he wanted to do," said Brian Mitchell, his teammate on that Super Bowl XXVI team. "I'll say this: he could predict the future, because he said he would be a general manager in the NFL."
Hurney has been a general manager twice and brings 28 seasons of executive experience to Washington, but before all that, he was just another local kid with a love for football.
Hurney grew up in Wheaton, Maryland, went to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney and attended Catholic University in Washington D.C., where he admittedly had no idea what he wanted to do for a career. He began writing for the school newspaper, which eventually led to him covering Washington's Super Bowl runs in 1983 and 1988 for local newspapers and building a close relationship with Beathard.
That created a path towards becoming an executive, and Hurney took full advantage, climbing up the ranks to become the general manager of the Carolina Panthers, a position he held from 2002–2012 and then again from 2017–2020. By coming to Washington, Hurney is not only reuniting with Rivera but also the franchise he grew up with.
"Marty Hurney is an excellent evaluator of talent and someone whom I trust and have worked with in the past," Rivera said in a press release announcing the hire. "He knows the amount of hard work it takes to operate a successful personnel department. Marty has a proven track record as a successful scout and general manager and will be a vital part of shaping our roster. Both myself and Mr. Snyder agreed that he would bring an enormous amount of experience to our operation. It is also fitting that Marty started his career here working for the legendary Bobby Beathard. I look forward to collaborating with both Marty and Martin in the years to come."
Mayhew and Hurney told Donaldson that they have spent a lot of time together over the past week and realized just how much they have in common. Mayhew noted their common personnel philosophies, while Hurney pointed out their similar personalities as "people persons." They also know what it takes to build a championship contender, with Mayhew winning one as a player and Hurney getting there twice as an executive.
Washington's coach-centric structure means Mayhew and Hurney will report to Rivera, although they all know revitalizing this franchise will be a collaborative effort. And having been around during some of its best moments, they cannot wait to get started.
"I mean the only time I get mad is when he starts flashing his Super Bowl ring because I've been there twice and haven't gotten one," Hurney joked. "It's just been such a natural fit. It's fun, and you have to have fun. There's so much work to do, you have to have fun in this business, and Martin might get tired of me eventually, but I love spending time with him."