Rivera next on Falcons’ list

Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera is the second on the Falcons list of potential successors to Jim Mora at head coach. On Thursday the Falcons interviewed Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. The team will interview Rivera sometime this weekend, since it is the only available time due to the fact that the Bears have a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Like Whisenhunt, Rivera is one of the hottest available candidates for open head coaching positions this year. He interviewed earlier this week for the vacant Arizona Cardinals job. Like Whisenhunt, he was considered one of three finalists for the open St. Louis Rams job a year ago, that eventually went to Scott Linehan. He also interviewed for the Green Bay Packers gig last year, that went to Mike McCarthy.

In three seasons as the Bears defensive coordinator, he has led the Bears to two Top 5 finishes in both scoring and total defense. This past season the Bears defense ranked 3rd in scoring and 5th in total defense, while ranking 1st in scoring defense and 2nd in total defense in 2005. In 2004, his first in Chicago, the Bears defense ranked 13th in scoring, a marked improvement from 2003, in which the bears were 22nd in scoring defense. Players such as Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris, and Nathan Vasher have developed into Pro Bowl players, while Mike Brown and Brian Urlacher have extended their Pro Bowl careers.

Prior to joining the Bears, he spent five years as linebackers coach in Philadelphia, where he helped develop the career of linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who went to two Pro Bowls under Rivera. From 1997 to 1998, he was with the Chicago Bears as defensive quality control coach, his first job coaching.

From 1984 until 1992, he played with the Chicago Bears, and was a member of the 1985 Super Bowl team. Over his career, Rivera appeared in 149 games, tallied 392 tackles, 9 interceptions, 7.5 sack, 5 forced fumbles, and 4 fumble recoveries. He was a star at Cal prior to joining the NFL, where he set the all-time record for the school in both sacks (22) and tackles (336). Rivera will celebrate his 44th birthday this coming Sunday was born in Ford Ord, CA. With his father being in the military, he has also lived portions of his life in Germany, Panama, Washington, and Maryland as well as California.

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Aaron Freeman
Founder of FalcFans.com