With changes coming in Carolina, Panthers owner David Tepper could consider tapping into his past and trying to pry loose some personnel people from Pittsburgh.
There are those around the league who believe that Tepper is eyeing Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, whose contract is up after this season, and/or vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan, according to league sources.
Tepper was a minority owner of the Steelers but is in the process of selling his interest in Pittsburgh.
Tepper knows Colbert and Khan, has worked with both men and respects them -- and some sources think he would like to try to find a way to bring them to Carolina.
Colbert owns a home in Hilton Head, South Carolina, about a three-hour drive from where the Panthers train. Tepper has stayed in close contact with both since he left the Steelers.
Tepper said he "thought it was time" to fire Rivera, saying he was "informed of other teams doing different types of searches out there, and I'm not going to start a search and not tell Ron Rivera I'm starting a search. Too good of a man.''
Tepper did not fire general manager Marty Hurney, but he said nothing that seemed to ensure that Hurney would remain with the organization long term. Tepper also plans to name an assistant general manager to focus on pro personnel evaluation and a vice president of football operations.