CHARLOTTE — Head coach Ron Rivera is staying with the Panthers, but three of his assistants are leaving.
Running backs coach John Settle, receivers coach Fred Graves and linebackers coach Warren Belin have been fired, the Panthers announced Tuesday.
The departures came three days after owner Jerry Richardson met with Rivera and decided to retain him for a third season.
Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will remain in their current roles, sources said.
Rivera fired special teams coordinator Brian Murphy during the season and promoted assistant special teams coach Richard Rodgers. It is unclear whether Rivera will keep Rodgers, who is popular among players, as the leader of special teams.
If so, Rivera would have three openings to fill.
Rivera said recently he probably should have had an assistant with NFL head-coaching experience on his staff to help with the administrative and organizational aspects of the job. Several ex-head coaches with ties to Rivera are currently unemployed, including Norv Turner and Dave Wannstedt, who was Buffalo’s defensive coordinator last season.
But with the Panthers keeping both their coordinators, it could be difficult to entice coaches of their stature to take a job as a position coach.
The three coaches let go Tuesday were part of Rivera’s inaugural staff, hired after Rivera succeeded John Fox in January 2011.
Rivera, 13-19 in two seasons with Carolina, waited a week before learning his fate during his Saturday morning meeting with Richardson. But staff changes were considered imminent following the Panthers’ 7-9 season — their fourth in a row without a playoff berth.
million in guaranteed money, each had off years.