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Rivera's remarks: Team captains


Comments from Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera.

On team captains: Jordan Gross - Jordan really stepped up this offseason the way he handled the whole work stoppage situation for us, and I think his teammates reflected that. Steve Smith, Jon Beason, Charles Godfrey, Thomas Davis and Jason Baker. I was really pleased with the selections the players made.

On what role the team captains will play: First of all, they get to handle the coin toss. Then the second one is represent the players in situations, circumstances and come to me about them. The nice thing about it is we've had several instances where these guys have already come to me and asked me for certain things or talked about certain things about adapting and changing what we do. It's been refreshing to have guys come to you and talk about these things. These are guys that I imagined that they would have asked to represent them.

On if something is wrong with tackle Jeff Otah and why he did not practice: No. We just want to be careful with Jeff. He's practiced really hard. This is the most extended period of time that he's practiced without having a day off. We were a little concerned; we just want to make sure. He got all the walkthrough reps; he got all the installation reps, so he was there (at practice) but just didn't go through the actual movement stuff.

On if he still expects Otah to play: Without a doubt.

On linebacker Jon Beason's level of participation in practice: Beason just did the walkthrough and the installation. We'll see how he is tomorrow when we get out there (Arizona). They're trying to modify a shoe for him. It's one of the concerns because the shoe seems to rub right on that spot. So we're trying to get a modified shoe for him.

On if he still expects Beason to play: Based on what I saw today, yes. He moved around pretty good. But he just didn't have the right shoe, and we want him to be careful.

On who will start at middle linebacker if Beason cannot play: Dan Connor. They've (Jon and Dan) been splitting reps all week, and then yesterday (Thursday) Dan took all of the reps. That was good. We were able to get some good reps out of Dan. Dan's had a good preseason, so I'm very confident in Dan and Dan's ability.

On how it will factor into his decision to start or take Beason out of the game if he is not 100 percent and cannot move around as he would like: You've got to look at all those things as he's playing. If he starts the game out, we've got to watch him. The other thing we've got to be realistic about, too, is he's not going to be able to play 60 plays. So we've got to make sure as he plays he gets quality reps. Dan will be ready to play. I've got all the confidence in the world in Dan. I thought he played very well during the preseason, and we're fortunate to have a linebacker of Dan's quality.

On if he ever reached a point of frustration during his six years of interviewing for head coaching jobs or if he ever felt like he was being interviewed by teams to fulfill the NFL's Rooney Rule requirement: I think at one time you kind of felt like. But I understood the rule and I think it's a very good rule, because in a lot of cases it has turned out to be an enlightening experience for not just the (candidate) but for some of the teams. And I think that's great. I never really lost hope. At some point I knew I'd get an opportunity. But I was very comfortable, very confident in my abilities. At one point when I did take a step back, not just as a coordinator but back to a position coach, I was always knew there would be a chance for me to go again as a coordinator and then, hopefully, get that opportunity to be a head coach.

On if there was any head coaching job among his eight previous interviews that he felt like he had gotten the job: No. I felt good about a couple of them coming out of some of my interviews. I really did just because I thought I had a good rapport with the owners. I had a real good feeling about it in my discussions. But I never walked out thinking it was mine. I always hoped it was mine. I wanted it to be mine. But I never took anything for granted, not even this job.

On undrafted rookie free agent Byron Bell making the team and his story of overcoming a fire and the death of a loved one: It speaks to the human nature of perseverance. The young man has gone through a very tough time. The one thing that he's trying to do is he's trying to carrying the legacy of his younger brother. I think, also, he's trying to do this for himself and for his family. To overcome those situations and circumstances reflects on how strong of a young man he is. It is a very difficult situation when you lose a sibling. But in the same respect, he's moving forward and he's paying tribute to the young man and his family.

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