Carolina Panthers

Panthers sign head coach Ron Rivera to two-year contract extension

(USA TODAY Sports)

The Carolina Panthers have signed head coach Ron Rivera to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Saturday, a day before they play the New Orleans Saints in the NFC wild-card round.

The contract keeps Rivera in Carolina through the 2020 season.

“We’ve done some really good things and we have an opportunity to do more,” Rivera said in a statement. “Things are in place and we can continue this success. We’ve had consistency of winning and we’ve gone to the playoffs four out of five years.

“This is a tremendous place with tremendous support from ownership and the people that work in the organization. And I really appreciate the support we’ve gotten from our fans in the Carolinas. That’s a big reason why I want to continue my association with this organization.”

Rivera has a 64-47-1 record as Panthers coach and has taken Carolina to the playoffs in four of his seven seasons. They reached the Super Bowl in the 2015 season.

The Panthers reached the playoffs this season despite a campaign Rivera has referred to as “tumultuous.”

Carolina endured off-field distractions from the get-go with the firing of general manager Dave Gettleman on the eve of training camp. That was followed by the midseason trade of No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, injuries that have kept three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen and two-time All-Pro center Ryan Kalil out for most of the season, negative feedback from quarterback Cam Newton’s sexist comments to a female reporter and the alleged sexual and racial misconduct surrounding team owner Jerry Richardson, who now plans to sell the Panthers.

Before joining the Panthers, Rivera was an assistant coach with the San Diego Chargers (2007-10), Chicago Bears (2004-06, 1997-98) and Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2003). In 2006, the Bears defense led the NFL with 44 takeaways, helping propel Chicago to an appearance in Super Bowl XLI.

A second-round draft choice in 1984 by Chicago, Rivera played nine seasons with the Bears. Primarily an outside linebacker, he was a member of the 1985 Super Bowl XX winning team.

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