NFL

Panthers fire three assistants

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)

The Carolina Panthers have fired running backs coach John Settle, wide receivers coach Fred Graves and linebackers coach Warren Belin following a 7-9 season.

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Tuesday's moves come three days after Panthers head coach Ron Rivera learned he will return for another season.

Rivera says these moves were ''tough decisions,'' adding that ''these coaches have played an instrumental role on our staff over the last two seasons. However, I have decided to go in a different direction at these positions.''

The Panthers plan to fill those spots but have not yet named replacements.

All three coaches were on Rivera's staff his first two years with the Panthers. They joined the team after coaching stints at the college level - Settle from Wisconsin, Graves from Tennessee and Belin from Georgia.

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