Frank Reich is returning to the Carolina Panthers as their coach, greater than 27 years after beginning the franchise’s first recreation at quarterback in 1995.
The Panthers introduced Thursday they’ve agreed to phrases with Reich to turn out to be the sixth head coach in franchise historical past. An introductory information conference was set for Tuesday.
Reich was chosen amongst 9 candidates who interviewed for the job, together with former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and this season’s interim head coach, Steve Wilks.
Reich acquired a four-year deal from the Panthers, in keeping with an individual conversant in the scenario. The particular person spoke to The Related Press on condition of anonymity as a result of the workforce doesn’t launch particulars of teaching hires.
The 61-year-old Reich joins the Panthers after spending the previous four-plus seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, the place he went 40-33-1 as head coach earlier than being fired on Nov. 7 after a 3-5-1 begin. The Colts went to the playoffs twice as a wild-card workforce beneath Reich, going 1-2 within the postseason.
Earlier than becoming a member of the Colts, Reich labored two years because the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, serving to them win the Tremendous Bowl in his second season beneath head coach Doug Pederson.
NFL analyst and former Panthers common supervisor Invoice Polian, who introduced Reich with him from Buffalo to Carolina in 1995 to assist mentor first-round draft choose Kerry Collins and supply quarterback stability, referred to as Reich “as wonderful of an individual as you’ll ever meet” and a head coach with “an excellent soccer thoughts.”
“I believe he’ll slot in completely in Carolina,” Polian said. “That is the place he needs to be. He actually is aware of the constructing and has been there as a participant. He’ll bond with the gamers and put collectively an excellent workers. There’s a nonetheless a variety of constructing to do with this workforce, however he’ll work nice with (common supervisor) Scott Fitterer.”
Polian added that Reich is low key however detail-oriented.
“He’s inspirational when he must be,” Polian said. “And he’s very rationale and sincere and easy along with his gamers.”
Wilks, who’s Black, was already a part of a lawsuit that included Brian Flores alleging racist hiring practices by the NFL.
Douglas Wigdor, the lawyer who’s representing Wilks within the lawsuit, mentioned in an announcement to The Related Press on Thursday “we’re shocked and disturbed that after the unimaginable job Coach Wilks did because the interim coach, together with bringing the workforce again into playoff competition and garnering the assist of the gamers and followers, that he was handed over for the pinnacle coach place by David Tepper.”
Wigdor continued: “There’s a authentic race downside within the NFL, and we will guarantee you that we are going to have extra to say within the coming days.”
Reich inherits a workforce that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2017 — and hasn’t received a postseason recreation since profitable the NFC championship in 2015 with league MVP Cam Newton at quarterback.
The Panthers have been looking for stability at quarterback ever since Newton started fighting accidents shortly after the workforce’s 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Tremendous Bowl 50. The Panthers lower Baker Mayfield this season and Sam Darnold is an unrestricted free agent, so Reich could have a key say in the way forward for the workforce’s quarterback scenario.
Reich turns into the primary Panthers head coach to return from an offensive background.
The Panthers completed twenty ninth within the league in offense and twenty ninth in passing this season after fighting quarterback play.
Reich is not any stranger to coping with a revolving door of quarterbacks.
In his 4 full seasons at Indianapolis, the Colts had three top-10 scoring offenses with three totally different quarterbacks — Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz.
Reich has additionally served as Peyton Manning’s place coach.
He additionally is aware of somewhat bit about profitable large video games as a quarterback, too. Reich spent 14 seasons as an NFL quarterback. Within the 1992 AFC playoffs, Reich orchestrated the most important postseason comeback in league historical past when the Buffalo Payments rallied from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers.
Panthers proprietor David Tepper has been keen to determine a profitable program since buying the workforce for a then-record $2.3 billion in 2018 from Jerry Richardson, who offered the workforce amid allegations of sexual and racial misconduct within the office.
The Panthers are 29-53 since Tepper bought the workforce and have by no means received greater than seven video games in a season.
Reich follows Dom Capers, George Seifert, John Fox, Ron Rivera and Matt Rhule because the franchise’s sixth full-time head coach.
Rivera is a minority, however the Panthers have by no means employed a everlasting Black coach. They’ve had two Black coaches who’ve labored on an interim foundation — Perry Fewell and Wilks.
Wilks went 6-6 final season. He took over for Rhule, who was fired by Tepper lower than three seasons after giving him a seven-year, $72 million contract. Rhule was 11-27 total, and the Panthers have been 1-4 when he was fired.
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Wilks additionally acquired robust consideration for the job.
The others who interviewed for the place have been Payton, former Detroit Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and NFL offensive coordinators Shane Steichen from Philadelphia, Ken Dorsey from the Buffalo and Mike Kafka from the New York Giants.
The Panthers are actually anticipated to show their consideration to Reich hiring his personal workers.
The Panthers have already got interviewed for that place is Vic Fangio, the previous head coach of the Denver Broncos. Fangio was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator in 1995 when Reich was the quarterback.
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