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Panthers announce Rivera will be back next season

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STEVE REED

AP Sports Writer 

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Panthers announced Saturday coach Ron Rivera will be back next season.

Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton says Rivera met with owner Jerry Richardson Saturday morning and was told he will be back for a third season.

Dayton says "He's going about normal preparations for next season."

Rivera's status with the Panthers had been up in the air pending a meeting with Rivera on Saturday morning.

Richardson fired GM Marty Hurney after a 1-5 start and informed Rivera at the time Panthers needed to be "trending upward" the rest of the season. The Panthers went 6-4 from that point out, including four straight wins to close the season. It's unclear if Rivera, who's 13-19 in two seasons win Carolina, will be forced to make any changes to his staff.

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