American Football

NFL notebook: Panthers fire Rivera

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04/12/2019 at 02:31 | Updated 04/12/2019 at 02:34

The Carolina Panthers fired coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday after a 5-7 start to the season.

"I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,"
owner David Tepper said in a statement. "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."

Rivera has been the Panthers' head coach since 2011, compiling a 76-63-1
record in nine seasons. He led Carolina to a 3-4 mark in four postseason
appearances, including the Super Bowl after the 2015 season, when the Panthers
posted a 15-1 regular-season mark.

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The team picked secondary coach Perry Fewell as its interim head coach.
Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will become the special assistant to the
head coach, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive

--One week after guiding the Pittsburgh Steelers to a victory over the
Cleveland Browns, rookie Devlin Hodges was named starting quarterback for a
second consecutive week.

Hodges will be under center Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after leading
the Steelers to a 20-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns last weekend, when
he was 14 of 21 for 212 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

Hodges took over in the second half for Mason Rudolph on Nov. 24 and rallied
the Steelers to a 16-10 win after throwing a 79-yard TD pass to James
Washington on his second pass of the game. Hodges, 23, was an undrafted free
agent out of Samford.

--The New York Jets officially ended the season of linebacker C.J. Mosley,
placing him on injured reserve after he played in parts of only two games
following his big-money free agent signing with the team last offseason.

Mosley, 27, signed a five-year, $85 million contract with $51 million
guaranteed with the Jets in May. The defensive star was in the midst of a
dominant season opener against Buffalo (six tackles, fumble recovery, pick-six
TD) when he injured his groin.

The four-time Pro Bowler tried for weeks to improve enough to see the field,
eventually playing against the New England Patriots in Week 7. But over time,
the groin injury began extending into his core muscles. Mosley will undergo
surgery, according to the Jets.

--The Cleveland Browns released veteran defensive end Chris Smith, less than
three months after his girlfriend was killed in an accident on the side of a
Cleveland highway.

Smith was in the second year of a three-year, $12 million deal with the
Browns. He played in nine games this season but did not see action Sunday at

On Sept. 11, Smith swerved and crashed his car after a tire malfunction. While
waiting for assistance on the side of the road, Smith's girlfriend, Petara
Cordero, was struck and killed by another vehicle. Cordero's death came a
month after she gave birth to the couple's first child. Smith was not injured
in the accident.

--George Atkinson III, who played running back at Notre Dame and had a brief
stint in the NFL, has died. He was 27. The Athletic's Pete Sampson reported
his death Monday night. The cause was not revealed.

Atkinson's twin brother, Josh, died of suicide last Christmas, shortly after
the death of their mother. She suffered from mental illness and Crohn's
disease. Their father, George Atkinson II, played in the NFL with the Oakland
Raiders (1968-77) and the Denver Broncos (1979).

The Atkinson twins were raised in Northern California and earned scholarships
to Notre Dame. In three seasons there, George III rushed for 943 yards and 10
touchdowns. He went on to appear in five games with the Raiders (2014) and 16
with the Cleveland Browns (2016), primarily returning kicks.

--Field Level Media

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