Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will have surgery on his injured left foot next week, interim coach Perry Fewell said on Wednesday. Quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator.
Now he'll be making that impact in a different city - perhaps it will be in Washington, the team whose Week 13 victory over the Panthers may have been the straw that broke David Tepper's patience, or perhaps he will reunite with Dave Gettleman in NY.
He reached the title game with Carolina in 2015, losing 24-10 to the Denver Broncos.
Newton revealed in September that he sustained the injury in the Panthers' first preseason game and hid the severity of it from his coaching staff. "Our vision is to find the right mix of old-school discipline and toughness with modern and innovative processes".
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has made a decision to officially put an end to his 2019 season.
Tepper said by moving on from Rivera now he can begin a coaching search immediately so that it won't put the team at a competitive disadvantage.
Rivera said his best coaching job came during the 2014 season, when Carolina won its final four games to win the division with a 7-8-1 record. "I just think back to how much fun we had and how great it really was".
Before suffering the foot injury, Newton missed only three starts in seven seasons. He may think the offensive coaches have that more, and then it's how that gets implemented. He was the NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and '15.
When Rivera came on, the Panthers had just gone 2-14 in 2010. We did things the right way.
Clearly, Rivera's replacement will have some big shoes to fill in the locker room, in addition to the task of getting the Panthers back to contention.
If the Panthers were to release Newton before next season, they could save $19 million and would only incur $2 million in dead money. Newton noted "this one hurt deep" during an Instagram Story post (via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport).
For the next owner thinking of giving Rivera another shot to coach in the National Football League, weighing his leadership and character against his role in those missed opportunities will be the pivotal calculus in whether he's coaching again in 2020.