After eight failed interviews, Ron Rivera is finally getting his first shot as an NFL head coach after being hired by the woeful Carolina Panthers.
He joins former Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders boss Tom Flores as the only Hispanic head coaches in NFL history.
“I’m thrilled to death for the opportunity. I almost want to say relief,” said Rivera, a linebacker with the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears. “When you get into playing you strive for one thing, that’s to be a Super Bowl champion. When you get into coaching, you strive to be a Super Bowl-winning head coach. That’s what my goal is.”
Rivera, the San Diego Chargers’ defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, inherits a 2-14 team that fizzled under the weight of inexperience, questionable personnel decisions and suspect talent. He had interviewed for eight head coaching jobs in six years.
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The Panthers have the No. 1 overall draft pick.
PLAYERS: 18-GAME SCHEDULE BIG HITCH
Concerns about injuries and insurance make the league’s push to switch to an 18-game regular season a major sticking point in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, according to Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the union’s executive committee.
The NFL wants to add two games to the current 16-game format for the regular season and eliminate two of four preseason games.
“To me, 18 games, the way it’s being proposed, is completely unacceptable,” Fujita said. “I see more and more players get injured every season.”
Houston offensive coordinator Rick Dennison interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching position. He is a former Broncos player and assistant coach. New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams withdrew his name from consideration. Illinois junior running back Mikel LeShoure will enter the draft. He rushed for 1,697 yards this season, including 330 against Northwestern.