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Buffalo Bills hire Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott as head coach

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers took a hit Thursday when defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was hired as the Buffalo Bills’ head coach.

McDermott, 42, has been a part of the Panthers’ organization for the past six season and a coach in the NFL for 18, ESPN reports. He was an important part of the team reaching the Super Bowl in 2015.

“We believe we have hired a smart, determined and hard-working head coach who has been training for many years to achieve this goal,” Bills co-owner Terry Pegula said Thursday in a statement. “Sean is an ambitious leader who has the desire to lead this organization to compete for and ultimately win a Super Bowl. We look forward to working with Sean for many years to come.”

In 2016, Carolina’s defense finished 21st in total yards allowed but was top 10 in four-straight years prior.

McDermott was one of four coaches to interview for the position, along with Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn, Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard and Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin.

The former defensive coordinator is set to become the 20th coach in the Bills’ 57-year history, taking over a position previously vacated by Rex Ryan.

“I am very appreciative of the opportunity to become the Buffalo Bills’ new head coach and join the rich tradition of Bills football,” McDermott said in a statement. “I am looking forward to connecting with our players, Bills staff and the passionate fan base. I want to thank Terry and Kim, and I look forward to working with Doug and the entire football department.”