Before he was a first-round draft pick and member of the Super Bowl-champion Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera was an All-American linebacker at Cal.
The officials with the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame haven’t forgotten.
Rivera is among 75 former Division I (now FBS) players and six coaches included on the 2018 ballot, which went out via email Thursday to the more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers who will choose this year’s inductees.
Former N.C. State wide receiver Torry Holt and former North Carolina and Texas coach Mack Brown also are on the ballot.
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Rivera has been a candidate for the college hall previously.
The northern California native had a standout career at Cal, culminating with a senior season in 1983 when Rivera was a consensus All-American and the Pac-10’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Rivera led the Bears in tackles three years in a row, and was a team captain as a junior and senior.
The newest hall of fame class will be announced Jan. 8 in Atlanta, site of the national championship game. Last year’s class featured 10 players and three coaches, including Clemson’s Danny Ford and Steve Spurrier, who coached at Duke, Florida and South Carolina.