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Rivera thrilled for Gettleman's award, Johnson's return


RIVERA THRILLED FOR GETTLEMAN: Head coach Ron Rivera's face lit up when asked to comment on general manager Dave Gettleman being named Sporting News' executive of the year.

"I think that's awesome. It's well deserved. I'm very happy for him," Rivera said at the NFL Annual Meeting in Boca Raton. "We can't overlook the contribution that Dave himself most certainly has made. I'm just thrilled to death for him."

Rivera credited Gettleman for the continuity that's been established in Carolina and lauded the general manager's ability to connect with players and still make the difficult decisions required.

"Dave is very loyal. He develops relationships. He's a different type of general manager," Rivera said. "He's involved with the players a little bit more; he's available for the players a little bit more."

JOHNSON'S PROFOUND MESSAGE: Rivera has always had a deep respect for defensive end Charles Johnson, a no-nonsense leader with a tireless work ethic.

It's safe to say that level of respect increased after Johnson was released and later re-signed to a team-friendly one-year contract.

"We were very fortunate," Rivera said. "Charles came in and met with us. The passion with which he talked about wanting to be with us was awesome. I wish other players could all hear the way he talked about it. It was really a profound statement that he made."

RIVERA EXPLAINS PANTHERS' RULE PROPOSAL: Carolina submitted a rule proposal to the committee asking for an expanded definition of intentional grounding.

After watching quarterbacks avoid sacks with last-ditch pass attempts to a general area, Rivera believes the rule needs more clarity.

"We just want to clarify it up and give the referee a little bit more clear (picture) as opposed to being a little too gray," Rivera said. "The ball being throw in the direction -- well, anybody could be in that direction. We want to make emphasis on a reasonable chance to catch the ball, too. Hopefully, that will clear that up for the referees and you'll see a few more intentional grounding penalties, too."RIVERA LIKES EJECTION PROPOSAL: One of the most widely discussed rule proposals here at the Annual Meeting regards players being ejected if they are penalized twice in a game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

The competition committee believes the rule will create a mindset similar to a basketball player in foul trouble, knowing he must proceed with caution or risk removal from the game.

Rivera thinks it can have a positive impact.

"I like the idea that after you get two, you're gone," Rivera said. "After the guy gets one, everyone is notified and now let's see if we can calm it down."

KUECHLY ON MEND: Rivera was happy to report that linebacker Luke Kuechly, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, has been back in the facility and is recovering well.

"Luke is progressing very nicely," Rivera said. "I think (the sling) is coming off this week." will have much more from Rivera after he meets the media for an extended conversation at the NFL Annual Meeting on Wednesday.

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