Carolina Panthers

Panthers to promote from within to fill defensive backs coach job

Carolina Panthers defensive back Leonard Johnson and Panthers assistant defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller (right) before a game in Tampa. Fuller has been promoted to defensive backs coach by the team.
Carolina Panthers defensive back Leonard Johnson and Panthers assistant defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller (right) before a game in Tampa. Fuller has been promoted to defensive backs coach by the team. AP

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is expected to promote assistant Curtis Fuller to secondary coach this week, according to league sources.

Fuller has spent the past three seasons working with the Panthers’ defensive backs alongside Steve Wilks, who took over as defensive coordinator last month when Sean McDermott became the Buffalo Bills’ head coach. The team is expected to make the move official later this week.

Jourdan Rodrigue weighs in on the decision to promote Carolina Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks to defensive coordinator.

The Panthers still have an opening for a wide receivers coach after Ricky Proehl stepped down two weeks ago so he could follow his sons’ college football careers.

Rivera values continuity on his staff. He stayed in-house to fill coordinator openings when Rob Chudzinski (2013) and McDermott left to become head coaches.

Fuller, 38, joined Rivera’s staff as an administrative assistant in 2013 before moving to an on-field position the following year as a defensive backs assistant. Fuller worked with the team’s nickel backs the past two seasons.

Fuller will assume Wilks’ former duties in coaching the Panthers’ cornerbacks, a group that included rookie starters James Bradberry and Daryl Worley in 2016 following the departure of Josh Norman and a couple of veteran corners.

Richard Rodgers will continue to work with the safeties.

Fuller came to Carolina in 2012 from Tennessee, where he was the Titans’ assistant secondary coach for one season. He had a two-year stint with Green Bay that included an administrative role in 2010 when the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.

Fuller, a two-time, all-conference defensive back at TCU, was drafted in the fourth round by Seattle in 2001. He played 42 games in four NFL seasons, including six with the Panthers in 2004 in his final year.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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