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January 10, 2011

Panthers close to finalizing deal with Rivera

Barring an 11th-hour change in direction or a snag in the negotiations, the Carolina Panthers are ready to hire San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera as their next coach, league sources said Monday.

Rivera, who turned 49 on Friday, is in Charlotte today meeting with Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and other team officials after interviewing with general manager Marty Hurney and team president Danny Morrison last week.

A team spokesman confirmed that Rivera was in Charlotte on Monday for a second interview.

Rivera could be announced as the fourth head coach in Panthers' history as early as Tuesday.

Rivera is one of four defensive coordinators the Panthers interviewed to replace John Fox. The others: the New York Giants' Perry Fewell, Cleveland's Rob Ryan and San Francisco's Greg Manusky.

The Panthers told Fewell on Monday they would contact him later Monday or early Tuesday to update him on their search, according to a source close to Fewell.

Fewell, 48, a Gastonia native, appears to be the second choice if the Panthers' talks with Rivera break down.

Rivera, a former Chicago Bears linebacker, directed the NFL's top-ranked defense this year in San Diego. Rivera has interviewed for eight previous head-coaching jobs since 2006, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

--Darin Gantt and Joseph Person


Posted by Observer Sports on January 10, 2011 at 04:06 PM | Permalink



Posted by: Hamilton | Jan 10, 2011 4:14:31 PM

"Rivera has interviewed for eight previous head-coaching jobs since 2006"

...and hasn't been hired once? This should be concerning but I realize no one in high-demand is dying to live in Charlotte.

Posted by: Freddie | Jan 10, 2011 4:16:38 PM

good luck mr. rivera ill be cheering your team on all year next year lets go CATS

Posted by: reggie | Jan 10, 2011 4:16:52 PM

Ron Rivera is a great hire. He's an excellent schemer and has had success coaching both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.

Posted by: Al | Jan 10, 2011 4:17:26 PM

Solid choice as the new head coach. Now let's see about offensive coordinator. Also interesting to see if Cam Newton can make a case for being the number one pick tonight.

Posted by: winpanthers | Jan 10, 2011 4:18:11 PM

More boring football. God, I hate defensive teams. Score some points. If John Kasay is our best offensive player for another year, I'll scream and burn my Panthers gear. Hire a DC. Fine. Now, what are we going to do to score enough points to win.

Posted by: fleiter | Jan 10, 2011 4:18:48 PM

Freddie - Rivera is a minority and will get tons of interviews as part of the Rooney Rule, which dictates that whenever a NFL team begins a search for a new head coach, they must interview at least one minority candidate. So, teams may have interviewed him even if he didn't have a chance of getting hired, just to be in compliance with the rule.

I think he's a good hire, my top pick of the four they initially interviewed for sure. Next step is a stud OC who can get us to actually score some points.

Posted by: GK | Jan 10, 2011 4:23:59 PM

Ron Rivera, un asco, esto es sólo un alquiler de quot. Yo Giess los espaldas mojadas en Charlotte será feliz.

Posted by: carlos | Jan 10, 2011 4:24:54 PM

I imagine the majority of those interviews were simply to satisfy team's Rooney Rule Requirement. I would imagine all of the minority assistants have more interviews than their white counterparts simply for that reason.

Posted by: Jeremy | Jan 10, 2011 4:26:55 PM

Another Defensive Coordinator, and probably some lineman from cleveland as offensive coordinator. We are getting the shaft again, in the beginning of this franchise, I was really excited about our team, so excited that my wife and I purchased PSL's, now I'm feeling that I am stuck with an owner and staff that only want to make money and not produce a winner. We can't compete in this league without veterans to help teach the so-called build from the draft team. As soo a we have a winner we are gonna unload these PSL's to at least get our money back. He's been interviewing since 2006 and no other team hired him as a head coach, he must really suck. Why do we keep trying to get top quality products from the bargain basement. This is another sad day for Carolina Panther Fans, we still have nothng to cheer for, except for an occassional first down, move the chains, move the chains, move the chains, wooooooo!Wish I had my money back.

Posted by: robray | Jan 10, 2011 4:27:29 PM

I guess the F.O can't wait untill the playoff's are over to go over some coordinators from PLAYOFF teams?...

Posted by: hellfish | Jan 10, 2011 4:29:10 PM

Yes Hamilton, Luck knew we were going to hire a DC as a HC a week ago and that's what made him stay. Nevermind you that he's a good DC and might be a good HC or that his defense was ranked #1 last year. Care to enlighten us why this choice SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS.

Posted by: cchsol68 | Jan 10, 2011 4:30:20 PM

Rivera's defense was not why the Chargers missed the playoffs.

He's a good coordinator. He has interviewed for many jobs but ultimately most of them were Rooney Rule interviews.

He'll be a good HC, especially if he can get us a decent OC that can help develop QBs, since we're probably going to have a young one either way, whether from this draft, a future one, or last year.

Posted by: Mav | Jan 10, 2011 4:31:15 PM

Whine Whine Whine...why dont you people let him coach a season before putting him down. Coming from San Diego he knows what kind of offense teams need now. A good offensive coordinater and we will have an exciting offense while still having a great defense.

Posted by: Shawn | Jan 10, 2011 4:32:15 PM


Posted by: Ryan | Jan 10, 2011 4:36:04 PM

Anybody interested in 4 PSLs? Mine will be Up for sale!!!! This franchise is beyond repair.

Posted by: Realtree71 | Jan 10, 2011 4:36:28 PM

This may or may not turn out to be a great hire, only time will tell, but I wouldn't give a former asst.coach more than a three year contract.
I am surprised that they would make an offer before talking to any asst's from the playoff teams. What's the great hurry, as there are not that many coaching vacancies remaining?

Posted by: sc ken | Jan 10, 2011 4:36:37 PM

I'd be happy if the Panthers can play D like the Chargers this past season. And if he brings someone to model the Charger offense, Panthers would be in good shape. Carolina just needs a QB who can make quick decisions and throw an accurate pass (just not to a D-Lineman or someone sitting on the bench).

Posted by: Nosebleed fan | Jan 10, 2011 4:37:25 PM

Great hire.

To those that whine about wanting a OC as a head coach, who would you want? Josh McDanial? Mularkey? Think about that for a minute, then look into their past stints as HCs.

Posted by: Jones | Jan 10, 2011 4:40:05 PM

Smart Hire if it happens!

Posted by: Nick | Jan 10, 2011 4:41:06 PM

Well, so much for next season. The Panthers evidently will never get another 1st rate coach.

Posted by: Luvnut | Jan 10, 2011 4:42:39 PM

Maybe the rush to hire is to fill the position before Fox gets hired elsewhere!

Posted by: sc ken | Jan 10, 2011 4:43:17 PM

Awful hire. We need an offensive minded coach. I never thought Richardson was a bad or cheap owner, but I do now.

Posted by: Douglas | Jan 10, 2011 4:44:23 PM

Terrible hire. We should have gone after Harbaugh. He signed with San Fran for $5 million per year. Fox was making $6.5 mill his last year. The Panther's front office has an obsession with coordinators for some reason.

Posted by: Sam | Jan 10, 2011 4:45:42 PM

This is great! And glad that Luck is staying behind too. Go Irish!

Posted by: Jimmy C | Jan 10, 2011 4:46:05 PM

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