The Panthers are getting a jump on “Black Monday” as the team has already stated that coach John Fox won’t return next season, ending a nine-year run in which he led the franchise to its only Super Bowl. His departure has been no secret, and Fox said after his final full practice Friday that he’d been preparing for it for two years.
Owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement that he told Fox that he appreciates everything he has done, but that “it is time for both sides to move in different directions.” Fox will coach his final game Sunday at Atlanta.
Fox was first denied a contract extension after the 2008 season. He entered the last year of his contract this fall with the Panthers beginning a youth movement that’s left them an NFL-worst 2-13. Fox is 78-73 in nine seasons in Carolina.
A couple names already being thrown around for the job is Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who is on the hot seat in Cincy, and Russ Grimm, who is coaching with the Arizona Cardinals.