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Panthers announce Rivera will be back next season

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Panthers announce Rivera will be back next season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Ron Rivera will return as coach of the Carolina Panthers next season following his team's strong finish.

Panthers spokesman Charlie Dayton said Rivera met with owner Jerry Richardson Saturday morning and was informed that he will return for a third season. Rivera has two years on his current contract.

``He's going about normal preparations for next season,'' Dayton said.

Rivera's status with the Panthers had been up in the air pending a meeting with Richardson on Saturday morning.

Richardson fired longtime GM Marty Hurney after a 1-5 start and informed Rivera at the time Panthers needed to be ``trending upward'' the rest of the season.

The Panthers went 6-4 from that point out, including four straight wins to close the season.

It's unclear at this point if Rivera, who went 13-19 in two seasons with Carolina, will be forced to make any changes to his staff. The Panthers finished this season 7-9 this season, good for second place in the NFC South.

Rivera did not return phone messages Saturday.

Dayton said neither Rivera nor Richardson would be commenting on the decision. Other members of the organization were asked not to comment on the decision either, per Richardson's request.

However, players were quick to applaud the decision.

``I'm very happy he's back,'' tight end Greg Olsen told The Associated Press. ``Obviously the season wasn't what we were looking for, but I think the way we finished showed that we're heading in the right direction.

``The guys have a lot of faith in coach Rivera and guys didn't want to let him down. I think the way we finished, winning four straight, shows a lot about the direction we're headed and our faith in him as our coach moving forward. I'm glad that things worked out.''

Rivera won a Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears in 1985 as a linebacker and broke into the coaching ranks shortly after his nine-year NFL career ended, first serving as an understudy to Dave Wannstedt in Chicago.

He quickly climbed the coaching ladder and was defensive coordinator in Chicago and San Diego before landing his first head coaching position in Carolina in 2011. That came after he was turned down for eight other head coaching jobs.

Offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner was also thrilled with the news.

``That's awesome news,'' Hangartner said. ``I'm excited about it. I think Ron has done a great job and I think he will be the first to admit he's learned a lot since he was hired. He definitely has the respect of the guys in the locker room because he's played the game and he treats guys the right way.''

Richardson is expected to turn his attention to filling the GM spot and interviews will come in the next week.

Richardson hired former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as a consultant for the GM search and the team has already received permission to interview two members of the New York Giants staff - college scouting director Marc Ross and senior pro personnel analyst Dave Gettleman.

Others potential candidates include Green Bay Packers director of player personnel John Dorsey, Tennessee Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson and Minnesota Vikings assistant GM George Paton.

Panthers interim general manager Brandon Beane is also expected to receive consideration for the position.

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What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

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USA Today

What It Means: Wizards reportedly expected to make extension offer to Bradley Beal

Despite the litany of teams who would love to get their hands on Bradley Beal this offseason, Washington has so far remained committed to keeping Bradley Beal a Wizard.

And when he's eligible in July, they plan to offer him a three-year, $111 million extension, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  

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Keeping Beal long-term may wind being a smart move, as NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig wrote this week. The extension would lock Beal up for the next five years and secure him and John Wall -- once he's fully recovered from offseason Achilles surgery -- as the Wizards' backcourt for the foreseeable future. 

The offer may seem financially burdensome, considering the Wizards just signed John Wall to a massive supermax extension that starts this season. But although the Wizards are currently strapped for cash, there's hope on the horizon. Ian Mahinmi's $15.6 million deal and Dwight Howard's $5.4 million deal expire after the 2019-2020 season.

The Wizards could decline Jabari Parkers $20 million team option and let Bobby Portis walk in restricted free agency this offseason. If both those happen, the Wizards could open up cap space for Beal's extension.

Considering John Wall is out for likely the entire next season and the Wizards still don't have a GM, their best move might be to lock in what proven production they have.

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Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Rain knocks out another Phillies-Nationals game

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies are 2-for-2.

Tuesday night's game was postponed following a two-hour rain delay. Monday's game was postponed after a three-hour rain delay.

Tuesday's game will be made up as part of a split day-night doubleheader Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., bumping a four-game series to a five-game series. The Nationals and Phillies are scheduled to also play a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday.

The day was not without news. Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose in batting practice when a ball bounced off his bat and struck him in the face. Scherzer was attempting to bunt at the time.

Scherzer's injury and the multiple postponements throw the Nationals' pitching plans into disarray. They're not sure if Scherzer will pitch as expected Wednesday. It appears Austin Voth, who was scratched from his Thursday start for Triple-A Fresno, will be available to pitch in one of the Wednesday games -- should they be played. More rain is expected Wednesday.

The Nationals will bump Patrick Corbin, who was slated to pitch again Tuesday, into a Wednesday spot. Wednesday's other starter is TBA. It could be Scherzer if he is ready. It could be Erick Fedde, and Voth could be used in the bullpen as the 26th man. That would provide Scherzer a chance to pitch Thursday and Strasburg on Friday against Atlanta. 

Or, Scherzer could be provided more time off. There's a lot to sort out once again thanks to the rain.

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