Panthers’ Rivera knows he has to win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers owner Jerry
Richardson doesn’t need to remind coach Ron Rivera just how important
winning in 2013 is to his future as an NFL head coach.

Rivera already knows.

Rivera told The Associated Press Tuesday
that when he met with Richardson earlier this month and was informed
he’d be returning for a third season in Carolina, he wasn’t given a
make-the-playoffs-or-else ultimatum from his boss. He says Richardson
“doesn’t want me looking over my shoulder.”

The coach says Richardson has been
supportive, but quickly adds “I understand we need to win — and he
knows I understand that.”

Richardson’s patience is wearing thin.

The Panthers haven’t made the postseason since 2008 and haven’t won a playoff game since 2005.

They went 6-10 and 7-9 under Rivera the past two seasons.