CHARLOTTE, N.C. — “This has been really cool,” Ron Rivera said Tuesday as news broke that he was out as head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
After the firing of the two-time NFL Coach of the Year, secondary coach Perry Fewell was named interim head coach, the team said.
“I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” owner David Tepper said. “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.”
For everything. pic.twitter.com/fXI6v0lxUY
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) December 3, 2019
In an article from the Carolina Panthers, Rivera reflects on his career with the team while packing up his office.
“We did a lot,” he said. “The people. We brought in good men, good coaches. We did things the right way. How fortunate I am.”
“That’s probably the biggest thing, coming from where we started, where we came from, you know?” Rivera said. “That’s the biggest gratification to me. We started way down and worked our way up to being respectable.”
Since 2011, the coach had a 76-63-1 regular-season record and a 3-4 postseason record. He guided the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to the Denver Broncos.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t maintain it,” he said.
The Panthers have struggled in recent seasons, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs in 2018.
To this point in 2019, the team is 5-7 and has lost four straight.
“So many fond memories,” he said. “I just think back to how much fun we had and how great it really was.”
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton took to Instagram Tuesday to react to Rivera’s firing.
“Will be forever grateful because of the impact you had on my life,” Newton wrote. “Thank you for giving me an opportunity. Thank you for believing in me. I can go on and on but most importantly; thank you for allowing me to be me!! This one hurt deep.”
He hasn’t played since he aggravated his Lisfranc injury when the Panthers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 2.
Two foot specialists said that Newton should continue his healing program prescribed by Panthers medical staff and “it likely will take significant time for the injury to fully heal.”