Based on his conversations with team owner Jerry Richardson, embattled Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes he will coach through the rest of the season at a minimum.
Rivera, 8-18 as the Panthers' coach, would not offer details about his discussions with Richardson.
I don't know what's going to happen, and I won't know until after the season. I know that much. And I know that nothing's going to happen until after the season, Rivera said. So what our guys have to understand is that they're playing for now. They're playing for each other.
When pressed, Rivera was noncommittal when asked if he'd been assured he would remain head coach. A team source told the Observer that Rivera is expected to coach the final six games.
The Panthers (2-8) surrendered an 11-point, fourth-quarter lead Sunday in a heartbreaking 27-21 overtime loss to Tampa Bay. The loss dropped the Panthers to 1-11 in games decided by a touchdown or less under Rivera.
Rivera was a longtime assistant coach before getting his shot with the Panthers after John Fox departed. He interviewed for eight other head-coaching positions before the Panthers hired him.
Richardson fired longtime general manager Marty Hurney in October, and has hired former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi to consult on the GM search.
Rivera said he still believes in himself, adding he is more concerned with the future of his players and coaching staff.
I'm not concerned about me, I'm really not. I'm concerned about them, Rivera said. We have a group of coaches that I believe in 100 percent. I'll be all right. No matter what happens I'll be okay. Whether I'm here next year or not, I will be A-OK.
I will go forward, I will make things happen whether it's here or somewhere else. I will. I believe in who I am and I firmly do believe in my abilities as a coach. Do I have a lot to learn? Most certainly. And I have learned an awful lot, and I've got the gray hairs to prove it.