Ron Rivera sounds resigned to losing Steve Wilks

AP

With the Panthers losing to the Saints, they’re also expecting to be losing a key assistant.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera sounded resigned to the reality that he’s going to lose defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who is now free to interview for head coaching jobs.

That would make the second straight year Rivera’s lost a defensive coordinator, after Sean McDermott went to the Bills last offseason.

“I know that Steve is a hot commodity, deservedly-so,” Rivera said, via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “He has done a tremendous job wherever he’s been, starting in Chicago and San Diego and down here with us. It’s going to be a tough one. Him and Sean (McDermott) are two very good people who are very special to this organization. We helped build this team.

“I don’t want to talk as if Steve is gone, but I have a hunch. It might be his time.”

Wilks is considered a strong candidate with the Giants, where former Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman is running the search there. But the Colts and Lions have also asked permission to interview him and he’s reportedly on the Cardinals list as well.