Connections: Falcons could have had Rivera

Carolina first-year coach Ron Rivera interviewed with the Falcons when they replaced Jim Mora after the 2006 season, before the team settled on Bobby Petrino.

Rivera, a former player and broadcaster, was then the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. He landed in San Diego as an assistant for the next four seasons before Carolina owner Jerry Richardson selected him to replace John Fox.

Other connections include:

  • Panthers linebackers coach Warren Belin coached Falcons rookie linebacker Akeem Dent during his senior season at Georgia.
  • Panthers running backs coach John Settle played four seasons for the Falcons (1987-90).
  • Panthers quarterback Cam Newton graduated from Westlake High School in College Park.
  • Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson is from Hawkinsville and played at Georgia.
  • Panthers safety Sherrod Martin is from Griffin.
  • Panthers defensive end Eric Norwood played at North Cobb High.
  • Panthers defensive tackle Frank Kearse is from Savannah.
  • Falcons offensive line coach Paul Boudreau coached the Panthers' offensive line from 2001-02.
  • Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis coached with the Panthers from 2007-08.