Ron Rivera has no hard feelings toward Lovie Smith


Panthers coach Ron Rivera will have two chances a year to stick it to a guy who effectively fired him.

But Rivera said he had no ill will towards new Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, who declined to renew Rivera’s contract after three years as his defensive coordinator in Chicago.

There was disappointment more than anything else,” Rivera said, via Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. “I would have loved to stay in Chicago. At that point it had been my home. I had been there 16 years, I started my coaching career there, I played there and we went to a Super Bowl [as a player and coach].

“But the decision was made and the discussion that coach and I had was, it’s not a personal thing. This is something he wanted to do and it’s the direction he wanted to head so I lived with it and moved on. It’s never been an issue.”

So while they might not be BFFs, Rivera sent Smith a text Thursday morning to congratulate him on his new job, and said he had received texts from Smith wishing him well after a 1-3 start, as well as after the Panthers won the NFC South title last week.

Rivera called their relationship “good and solid,” but there’s little doubt the Panthers coach is looking forward to giving Smith’s team a good solid beating or two a year.

17 responses to “Ron Rivera has no hard feelings toward Lovie Smith

  1. It’s just part of the business. He got over it, like you need to be able to in the NFL. Don’t go into coaching if you don’t want to get fired. Ron Rivera is now the HC of a team that doesn’t seem like it’s going to get worse any time soon.

  2. They exchange texts wishing each other well- not even close to good feelings. Theyre obviously still fine. Nothing to see here.

  3. “Rivera called their relationship ‘good and solid,’ but there’s little doubt the Panthers coach is looking forward to giving Smith’s team a good solid beating or two a year.”

    He’s only looking forward to beating them because he’s now a DIVISION RIVAL. The media tries to make a mountain out of a molehill on everything. These are two grown men, I believe Rivera totally when he says there is no “ill will” for the other. I think it worked out fine for the both of them honestly. Rivera has built a potential monster in Carolina for the next few years and Smith has a new HC gig in Tampa Bay…

  4. Total ego move on Lovie’s part getting rid of Rivera. I hope Rivera sticks it to him every time they play.

  5. They’re both professionals who understand this is a cutthroat business that judges on results. Quit trying to spark something that isn’t there.

  6. Are you kidding? They should both count themselves fortunate to have escaped the craphouse that is Chicago Bears football. He should send him a Rolex each year at Christmas.

  7. I’d put my money on Riverboat Ron. That guy has created a pretty special defense, even with a JV secondary.

  8. As I recall, Smith allowed Rivera to walk because Rivera was that era’s “hot up-and-coming assistant” was often interviewing for HC jobs.

  9. Ole Lovie didn’t like the fact that Ron was having success by tweaking the Tampa 2, and essentially was better at it than Lovie was….here’s hoping Rivera kicks his ass every time they play!!

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