Panthers hire former QB Reich as head coach
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Frank Reich is returning to the Carolina Panthers as their coach, more than 27 years after starting the franchise’s first game at quarterback in 1995.
The Panthers announced Thursday they’ve agreed to terms with Reich to become the sixth head coach in franchise history. An introductory news conference was set for Tuesday.
Reich was chosen among nine candidates who interviewed for the job, including former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and this season’s interim head coach, Steve Wilks.
Reich received a four-year deal from the Panthers, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not release details of coaching hires.
The 61-year-old Reich joins the Panthers after spending the past four-plus seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, where he went 40-33-1 as head coach before being fired on Nov. 7 after a 3-5-1 start. The Colts went to the playoffs twice as a wild-card team under Reich, going 1-2 in the postseason.
Before joining the Colts, Reich worked two years as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, helping them win the Super Bowl in his second season under head coach Doug Pederson.
NFL analyst and former Panthers general manager Bill Polian, who brought Reich with him from Buffalo to Carolina in 1995 to help mentor first-round draft pick Kerry Collins and provide quarterback stability, called Reich “as fine of a person as you’ll ever meet” and a head coach with “a great football mind.”
“I think he will fit in perfectly in Carolina,” Polian said. “This is where he wants to be. He literally knows the building and has been there as a player. He will bond with the players and put together a great staff. There is a still a lot of building to do with this team, but he will work great with (general manager) Scott Fitterer.”
Polian added that Reich is low key but detail-oriented.
“He’s inspirational when he needs to be,” Polian said. “And he’s very rationale and honest and straightforward with his players.”
Wilks, who is Black, was already part of a lawsuit that included Brian Flores alleging racist hiring practices by the NFL.
Douglas Wigdor, the lawyer who is representing Wilks in the lawsuit, said in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday “we are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job Coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the head coach position by David Tepper.”
Wigdor continued: “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”
Reich inherits a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2017 — and hasn’t won a postseason game since winning the NFC championship in 2015 with league MVP Cam Newton at quarterback.
The Panthers have been searching for stability at quarterback ever since Newton began struggling with injuries shortly after the team’s 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers cut Baker Mayfield this season and Sam Darnold is an unrestricted free agent, so Reich will have a key say in the future of the team’s quarterback situation.
Reich becomes the first Panthers head coach to come from an offensive background.
The Panthers finished 29th in the league in offense and 29th in passing this season after struggling with quarterback play.
Reich is no stranger to dealing with a revolving door of quarterbacks.
In his four full seasons at Indianapolis, the Colts had three top-10 scoring offenses with three different quarterbacks — Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz.
Reich has also served as Peyton Manning’s position coach.
He also knows a little bit about winning big games as a quarterback, too. Reich spent 14 seasons as an NFL quarterback. In the 1992 AFC playoffs, Reich orchestrated the biggest postseason comeback in league history when the Buffalo Bills rallied from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers.
Panthers owner David Tepper has been eager to establish a winning program since purchasing the team for a then-record $2.3 billion in 2018 from Jerry Richardson, who sold the team amid allegations of sexual and racial misconduct in the workplace.
The Panthers are 29-53 since Tepper purchased the team and have never won more than seven games in a season.
Reich follows Dom Capers, George Seifert, John Fox, Ron Rivera and Matt Rhule as the franchise’s sixth full-time head coach.
Rivera is a minority, but the Panthers have never hired a permanent Black coach. They’ve had two Black coaches who’ve worked on an interim basis — Perry Fewell and Wilks.
Wilks went 6-6 last season. He took over for Rhule, who was fired by Tepper less than three seasons after giving him a seven-year, $72 million contract. Rhule was 11-27 overall, and the Panthers were 1-4 when he was fired.
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and Wilks also received strong consideration for the job.
The others who interviewed for the position were 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 now expected to turn their attention to Reich hiring his own staff.
The Panthers already have interviewed for that position is Vic Fangio, the former head coach of the Denver Broncos. Fangio was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator in 1995 when Reich was the quarterback.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
NBC’s Tara Slone on speaking her mind about James Reimer: ‘We have to talk about this’ – The Athletic
On Saturday night, Canadian broadcaster Tara Slone was on the air in California, covering a breaking story as part of her new job with the San Jose Sharks and NBC Sports. Goaltender James Reimer was refusing to wear a Pride-themed jersey during warm-ups, citing his religious beliefs.
“I think it is an active thing that he is doing by sitting out and not wearing the Pride jersey,” she said during the broadcast. “I think a lot of us are very disappointed. We were hoping that the whole team would show this act of solidarity and inclusion and acceptance.
“What’s hard to watch happen, I think, right now, is this sort of ripple effect.”
Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov boycotted his team’s scheduled Pride night in January. Days later, the Rangers elected not to wear Pride-themed jerseys as scheduled. Earlier this month, the Wild declined to wear Pride jerseys during a pregame warm-up.
The rest of the Sharks wore the Pride jersey.
“I woke up today just really sad,” Slone said in an interview with The Athletic on Monday. “It’s less about James Reimer himself, and more about what’s happening in the world, which I find so painful.”
Slone relocated to California last fall, months after Sportsnet announced the cancellation of “Rogers Hometown Hockey,” which she had co-hosted with Ron MacLean. Her partner, former defenseman Dan Boyle, had settled in San Jose in retirement.
In November, Slone began working as host/contributor for the Sharks and NBC Sports Bay Area. As reaction continued to roll in from the weekend, she fielded questions from The Athletic.
(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)
When did you hear about the stance James Reimer was going to take?
I think a lot of us were anticipating there would be a holdout or two. Coach (David) Quinn was asked about it a few days before the Pride game. And with his answer, it just didn’t seem like the whole team would be wearing them. So we were prepared for somebody to hold out.
I got a text from my producer, Sean Maddison, shortly after it was announced. It was Saturday morning.
How did you decide what you would say on the air?
Obviously, for me, it’s a balancing act, right? I work for the team. I also work for the broadcaster that works for the team. I knew I had to be careful. Honestly? My first feeling was I was so heartbroken for the organization itself, because I knew how much work had gone into all of the events leading up to the Pride game itself.
And I know how much work they do internally. That’s one of the things about being employed by the team: I know that this is an organization that puts their money where their mouths are in terms of internal education. It’s not just a one-night thing.
What really sucked is seeing that their efforts were being overshadowed by James Reimer’s decision. I knew that I had the faith of NBC. They brought me in for a reason. They knew exactly what they were getting when they decided they wanted me to be part of the team.
And I think part of it is to address issues like this, to have real conversations about hockey culture. If they were looking for another hockey talking head, I’m not it. I am not an analyst.
.@TaraSlone and @BrodieNBCS discuss James Reimer not wearing a Pride jersey during warm-ups pic.twitter.com/uqxz3wRn2A
— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) March 19, 2023
Had you scripted what you were going to say?
I didn’t script anything, no. And I haven’t watched it back, actually, so I don’t really remember what I said. What made it easy for me is that I felt so aligned with what Brian Burke had sent me.
Did you interview him?
He texted it to me. I had spoken to him. He came through with the Penguins. I’d spoken to him after Ivan Provorov refused to wear his Pride jersey. I wanted to get Burkie’s thoughts. I knew that, in this case, he would have something to say. Reimer played under him. Reimer played for him at a time when Brendan Burke was out, and when Brendan died. (Reimer was with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, and Brian Burke was the Maple Leafs’ GM, when Brendan Burke died in February 2010.)
To me, other than just being disappointing — and disappointing on behalf of the team itself — it is just such a dangerous time for that community. I felt so heartbroken that this was something that was going to be used as a further launch point for all the people who have demonized the LGBTQ+ community.
That was, and remains, the biggest heartbreaker of this whole thing.
What has been the reaction?
Really divided. A lot of people applauding NBC for allowing that to happen. Applauding the Sharks. Applauding me, I guess. But there’s just so much vitriol out there. People standing by Reimer’s freedom of religious expression. And just complete, horrible, weaponization. Using it as a platform to energize all these false narratives.
Honestly? I feel kind of sick to my stomach. It’s really not about what I’ve taken personally. It’s about what I’m seeing out there, and what is an indication of where the greater world sits. We’re a long way from equality and understanding, that’s for sure.
You’ve been on NBC for less than a year …
Yeah. I only got my work visa in December.
Were you concerned about what kind of editorial freedom you might have, given your brief tenure?
It wasn’t a matter of that. Like I said, they knew who I was coming into this. Both the Sharks and NBC really created a situation for me because of who I am, because of what I bring. And my outspokenness is part of what I bring. I’ve said this many times at this point: It’s really refreshing for me to be in a place where I am celebrated and not just tolerated — where my viewpoints are actually encouraged.
At the same time, it is a balancing act, and I have to be careful. I want to make sure that I’m honest, but also fair to the team. I spoke to Scott Emmert, who’s the (vice president) of communications. He knew that we were going to say something. I assured him. I said: “Scott, I’m going to be fair, but we have to talk about this.”
Nobody told me to watch myself. Nobody gave me anything to say or not to say.
How are people reacting around San Jose?
I don’t know. I’ve only been hanging out with my 13-year-old daughter. (Smiles) But certainly, in the hockey world and in the Sharks fan community, it’s the biggest topic of conversation.
What happens next?
I think it has opened some important discourse. I really wonder, though, moving forward, how the fans are going to react to Reimer. But as I’ve seen in hockey — over and over again — stuff, unfortunately, tends to be forgotten pretty quickly. I think what happens next is life goes on. It’s been a hard enough season for the team. It’s almost over. I think everybody would love the chance to just regroup.
How have you adjusted to working in California?
Working as a team is really different. You come across the challenge of finding stories about that one team, for however many broadcasts a year. And just making sure you are representing the organization properly.
The fanbase is different here. I think it is a much more diverse fanbase. A rabid fanbase. They’ve had a lot of years of success. With the team, it’s not the happiest place right now. But I think people have a lot faith.
Do you have a sense of how long you’ll stay in California?
(Laughs) Well, the man I love is here. If I left, that would mean leaving him, and I have no intention of doing that. He’s not leaving. He’s built his dream home. And job-wise, I’m really excited about the future with both the Sharks and with NBC.
I think we’ll re-assess what everything is going to look like in the offseason. But I certainly hope this is just the beginning for me.
(Photo of Reimer: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)
Canadian momentum build continues at women's curling worlds with wins over Italy, Scotland – CBC.ca
Canada’s Kerri Einarson improved to 4-1 in round-robin play with a sweep of her matches Monday at the world women’s curling championship.
“We’ve had a few really tight battles and a few where we’re very grateful to win,” Birchard said. “It feels similar to last year when I know we dropped one or two early but then powered through the rest of the week.
“We need to keep the momentum going. We’re feeling strong and feeling good out there on the ice. All we can do is keep getting better.”
The Canadians meet the Swiss in Tuesday’s afternoon draw at the Goransson Arena before taking on New Zealand in the evening.
WATCH | Canadians defeat Scotland for 3rd straight victory:
Einarson scored four in the first end against Morrison, but the Scots replied with four in the second.
The Canadians started slowly building a lead, and went up 9-5 after steals of one in the seventh and eighth ends.
Morrison got two back in the ninth, and made it close with a steal of one in the 10th.
WATCH | Canada’s Einarson beats Italy’s Constantini at women’s curling worlds:
“We talked about it after the second end and it was essentially like we blanked the first two ends and it was just going to be an eight-end game from there on. We really parked it,” Birchard said. “We were firing after that and there were no real missteps. I feel like we put together a pretty good game.”
In the earlier match, Italy faced a triple-raise double-takeout to score in the ninth end but gave up a steal of two to end the game.
The top six teams in the 13-team field qualify for the playoff round. The final is scheduled for Sunday.
Einarson won bronze at last year’s world championship in Prince George, B.C.
WATCH | Einarson talks worlds on CBC Sports’ ‘That Curling Show’:
Carson Briere, son of Flyers GM Danny, charged for pushing wheelchair down stairs – CTV News
Three misdemeanour charges were filed Monday against the son of Philadelphia Flyers interim general manager Danny Briere after a video posted on social media showed him and another Mercyhurst University athlete pushing an unoccupied wheelchair down a staircase.
Police in Erie, Pa., filed charges of criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit mischief and disorderly conduct against Carson Briere, who completed his third hockey season at Mercyhurst. Patrick Carrozzi, listed as a senior member of the school’s lacrosse team, faces the same three charges, according to documents filed with District Judge Sue Mack.
The two are scheduled to appear in court on May 22.
Briere and Carrozzi are seen on a surveillance video at the top of a staircase of a local bar, where they push the wheelchair down the steps on March 11. Police say their actions posed a potential danger to anyone coming up the stairs, while also creating a hazardous condition by blocking the staircase.
The wheelchair’s owner, identified as Sydney Benes, filed a complaint saying the fall down the stairs damaged the left brake handle, broke the right arm rest’s plastic molding, bent a rear handle and caused the wheels to drag when moving forward. Benes said the wheelchair was purchased a year ago, costing US$2,000.
It’s unclear if Briere or Carrozzi have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
Briere and two other athletes were placed on interim suspension, while the school investigated the matter.
A message seeking comment left with a Mercyhurst athletic department spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
Last week, the 23-year-old Briere apologized in a statement released through the NHL’s Flyers.
“I am deeply sorry for my behaviour on Saturday,” he said. “There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment.”
Danny Briere, who was promoted to run the Flyers after Chuck Fletcher was fired two weeks ago, said he was shocked to see his son’s actions and called them “inexcusable,” while saying his son “accepts full responsibility for his behaviour.”
Mercyhurst previously released a statement saying the actions displayed in the video fall short of the school’s “belief in the inherent dignity of each person,” adding the school’s “tradition also reminds us that students and all people who make poor choices deserve opportunities to learn, change behaviours and atone for harmful actions.”
Carson Briere previously was dismissed from Arizona State’s hockey club in 2019 for what the school called a violation of team rules.
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