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.