Rivera says he expects to coach Panthers in 2019

said he expects he will be back at the helm of the Carolina Panthers, despite a sub-.500 record.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 23, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera looks on during the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

“I feel pretty good about it,” Rivera said Friday of what he sees as his future with the team, according to ESPN.com. “My intention, and everything I’ve been doing, is working toward the future, and we’ll go from there. My conversations with the owner have been all positive.”

The Panthers started the season at 6-2 but have lost seven straight as they head into Sunday’s season finale at New Orleans.

David Tepper, whose purchase of the team became official in July, has not commented on whether Rivera will return. Former team owner Jerry Richardson extended Rivera’s contract through 2020 earlier this year.

If the Panthers lose Sunday, they will become the first team since the 1978 expansion to a 16-game schedule to finish 6-10 after a 6-2 start, ESPN reported.

“I’m disappointed. I truly am disappointed,” Rivera said of the 2018 season. “The hard part about it is losing is truly disappointing, but sometimes you feel like you let some people down. That’s probably one of the things I’ve struggled with, knowing that I think we’re better than our record says. But at the end of the day, you are what your record is.”

The record could be better had the ball bounced differently a few times. Five of the losses during the seven-game slide are by a touchdown or less.

“That’s been the hardest pill for me to swallow,” Rivera said. “We had some opportunities. We had some chances. Games were in our grasp, but unfortunately we didn’t do it. That’s the hard thing for me to accept.”

Rivera’s coaching record is 70-56-1 since he joined the Panthers in 2011. The 56-year-old coach has led the team to the playoffs four times in eight seasons, including a loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season.

—Field Level Media

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