If you’re listening closely to the rumors flying everywhere in the wake of "Black Monday" this week and the firing of five NFL head coaches and counting and retiring of another, you may have heard the one about Ron Rivera and the Panthers parting ways.
It’s quiet and way under the radar, according to all of our best sources at PFW, but it is nonetheless out there.
The problem is this is one where somebody apparently thinks they’ve come up with something, and now folks are desperately trying to make two and two equal four, but in this case it’s just not going to happen.
The thinking goes that with interim general manager Marty Hurney only in the Panthers job through the 2018 NFL College draft and team owner Jerry Richardson about to actively begin a search for someone to buy the team, it could be the right time for Rivera to move on.
Rivera is coming off another outstanding season in which he guided the Panthers to an 11-5 record and a Wild Card spot in spite of a terribly inconsistent year from Cam Newton. Having the two-time NFL Coach of the Year under contract is actually a tremendous asset for Hurney – who originally hired Rivera in 2011 – or any intelligent executive thinking about taking the G.M. job, and for any billionaire out there seriously thinking about buying the team.
One source tells me he believes this rumor started with someone who thinks Rivera wants out, and that because Hurney and Richardson could be moving on, the coach might be able to leverage his strong relationships with both men to convince them to let him out to take one of the other desirable jobs that is now open before new management is forced on him.
But Rivera and his wife have fully embraced the Carolina community. Their son and daughter are both grown and free to roam. Carolina seems to love its coach, and there is more than enough young talent on the team to project it as a contender for the foreseeable future.
Stranger things have happened, but it seems the chances of Rivera leaving the Panthers after the playoffs are slim and none, and slim is already 100 miles out of town.