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Panthers’ Ron Rivera, Sean McDermott earn Sporting News honors

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/29/20/17/LSofW.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Uncredited - AP
    This is a 2013 photo of Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers NFL football team. This image reflects the Carolina Panthers active roster as of Thursday, May 9, 2013 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/29/20/17/1oWEUT.Em.138.jpeg|316
    Uncredited - AP
    Sean McDermott

The awards keep rolling in for “Riverboat” Ron Rivera – as well as an honor for one of the Panthers’ assistant coaches.

The Sporting News this week named Rivera its Coach of the Year, and Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was the publication’s Coordinator of the Year in balloting by a group of NFL coaches and executives.

It’s the third such honor in recent weeks for Rivera, who guided the Panthers to a 12-win season, along with the NFC South title and the team’s first playoff berth since 2008. Rivera also is among the favorites for the Associated Press Coach of the Year award, announced Saturday night in New York City.

Rivera signed a three-year contract extension Tuesday, worth between $4 million and $5 million a year, that could keep him in Charlotte through 2017.

McDermott, 39, the former Philadelphia coordinator, oversaw the league’s second-ranked defense in total defense (301.3 a game) and scoring defense (15.1 points a game). The Panthers finished behind only NFC-champion Seattle in both categories.

McDermott was first in the Sporting News’ voting ahead of two assistants who have since been hired as head coaches: Ken Whisenhunt, the San Diego offensive coordinator now in Tennessee, and former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, Minnesota’s new coach.

McDermott was among the candidates who interviewed this month for Washington’s head-coaching vacancy before the Redskins hired Jay Gruden.

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