David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Coach Rivera finds a new home.
Ron Rivera has agreed to become head coach of the Washington [‘S]kins, according to two people familiar with the situation, bringing the team a popular leader who is widely respected around the NFL.
Rivera, the former coach of the Carolina Panthers, reached an agreement with [‘S]kins owner Daniel Snyder after the two met on Monday, the individuals said. Rivera was working Tuesday to assemble a staff of assistant coaches, while the [‘S]kins were in the process of reconfiguring their front office in a manner that was acceptable to Rivera, according to multiple people familiar with the team’s planning.
Per rumors on Twitter, famed ‘Skin–turned–radio personality Fred Smoot reported that Rivera was wined and dined by ‘Skins owner Dan Snyder and… President Barack Obama.
Fred Smoot just reported on 980 that Dan Snyder and Ron Rivera are currently at dinner…with Barack Obama.
— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) December 30, 2019
Rivera was a stellar linebacker for the California Golden Bears, ending his career as a consensus All-American in 1983 and setting school records for tackles, sacks, and tackles for loss—the last of which being a record that still stands. The man truly has Bear blood, being drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round; he spent his nine-year playing career here, including a Super Bowl win.
As a coach, Rivera’s entire career has been in the NFL so far. In his nine years as the Panthers’ head coach, he led the team to a 76–63–1 record, three first-place finishes in the NFC South, and a Super Bowl appearance (losing to C.J. Anderson’s Denver Broncos).
As a Cal fan, this means I’ll now be rooting for the worst-named team in the league. Poor coincidence that this news pairs such a team with a coach who has received stellar praise from his former players.
Ron Rivera told me that the only college football coaching job he would take is with the Cal Bears (his alma mater) because it would be “going home.”
Said the reason he’d consider making such a move is the ability to make an impact on young men sooner. @wbtradio
— Kyle Bailey (@KyleBaileyWFNZ) December 5, 2019
Maybe one day the timing will be right for him to come back and coach up the only Bears that truly matter—but until then, best of luck to Coach Rivera!