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Source: Carolina Panthers fire running backs coach John Settle

By Joe Person
jperson@charlotteobserver.com

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Head coach Ron Rivera is staying with the Panthers, but at least one of his assistant coaches is leaving.

Running backs coach John Settle has been relieved of his duties, a league source said Tuesday.

The departure comes three days after Panthers owner Jerry Richardson met with Rivera and decided to retain him for a third season.

Rivera fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy during the season and promoted assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will be remain in their current roles, sources said.

But there likely will be additional staff changes following the Panthers' 7-9 season – their fourth in a row without a playoff berth.

Settle was part of Rivera's inaugural staff, hired shortly after Rivera succeeded John Fox in January 2011. He is believed to have a year remaining on his contract.

Settle, a Reidsville native and former Appalachian State and NFL running back, coached at Wisconsin before coming to Charlotte. His only previous NFL coaching experience was a 3-year stint with Cleveland that saw him move with the Browns to Baltimore in 1996.

Despite franchise rushing leader DeAngelo Williams getting benched and Jonathan Stewart missing seven games with ankle injuries in 2012, the Panthers finished ninth in the league in rushing with 130.5 yards a game. Of the eight teams ranked higher than Carolina in rushing, six made the playoffs.

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