The suspense is finally over.
Ron Rivera will return as Carolina Panthers head coach next season.
Rivera, who has two years left on a four-year, $11.2 million deal, was hanging in limbo for nearly a week before learning his fate in a meeting with owner Jerry Richardson Saturday morning.
The Carolina players are thrilled with the decision to stick with the current regime.
"I'm very happy he's back," tight end Greg Olsen told the Associated Press. "Obviously the season wasn't what we were looking for, but I think the way we finished showed that we're heading in the right direction.
Geoff Hangartner also applauded the news.
"That's awesome news," Hangartner said. "I'm excited about it. I think Ron has done a great job and I think he will be the first to admit he's learned a lot since he was hired. He definitely has the respect of the guys in the locker room because he's played the game and he treats guys the right way."
However, the team still has an important hire to make at the general manager position.
Marty Hurney, the man who hired Rivera two years ago, was given his walking papers in late October after the Panthers stumbled to a 1-5 start.
The team hired former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi in November to serve as a consultant during the search for a new general manager, so it's no surprise that the two leading candidates for the job so far are two New York executives – director of college scouting Marc Ross and senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman.
Interim GM Brandon Beane, who was Hurney's right-hand man, will also be considered for the position.Tags: Brandon Beane, Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Ernie Accorsi, Football, Geoff Hangartner, Greg Olsen, Jerry Richardson, Marty Hurney, NFL, Ron Rivera