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Richard Rodgers
Assistant Defensive Backs/Safeties
College:
California
Experience:
5

Bio

COACHING
Richard Rodgers is in his fifth season with the Panthers and his second assisting with the defensive backs. In 2016, Rodgers will be primarily responsible for coaching the team's safeties.

In 2015, Rodgers returned to his roots as assistant defensive backs coach. Before entering the NFL, he gained expertise as a secondary coach for 11 years on the college level. Rodgers worked closely with assistant head coach/secondary coach Steve Wilks to tutor a position group that helped the Panthers rank sixth in the NFL in total defense and win an NFC Championship despite injuries to cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere. Carolina held opposing quarterbacks to an NFL-low 73.5 passer rating and paced the NFL in interceptions (24), total takeaways (39), points off turnovers (148) and turnover differential (plus-20).

Including the postseason, seven different defensive backs recorded interceptions for the Panthers, including free agent safety Kurt Coleman, who ranked third in the NFL with seven interceptions. Fourth-year cornerback Josh Norman earned his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors after a standout season in which he established career-highs with 15 passes defensed and four interceptions, including two pick-sixes.

Rodgers came to Carolina in 2012 as special teams assistant and took over as special teams coordinator for the final seven games, a position he held through the 2014 season.

In his first full season as the Panthers special teams coordinator in 2013, Rodgers oversaw a unit that jumped to 13th in The Dallas Morning News special teams rankings one year after ranking last. The unit featured record-setting performances from kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman and kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr., while long snapper J.J. Jansen made the Pro Bowl.

Rodgers aided Gano in converting 24-of-27 field goal attempts, including a team-record and NFL-leading six from 50 yards or more, and topping the league with a 79.7 touchback percentage on kickoffs - the best mark in the league since 1992. Rodgers helped Nortman set team records with a gross average of 47.8 yards, which ranked fourth in the NFL, and net average of 41.6 yards, which ranked fifth in the NFL. Ginn set a franchise record and ranked sixth in the NFL with a 12.2-yard punt return average, becoming the first Panthers' punt returner to rank in the top 10 since 2008.

During the last seven games of the 2012 season, Rodgers had a positive effect on special teams play, helping the Panthers improve from 31st to 14th in the NFL in punt return average and from 18th to 10th in punt coverage. Rodgers' units also led the league in opponents' kickoff return average following a 30th-place finish in 2011.

Rodgers joined Carolina with 23 years of college experience. He coached at Holy Cross from 2005-11, spending his last six seasons as defensive coordinator after handling the secondary in 2005. Rodgers developed the Crusaders into one of the top defenses in the Patriot League. Five players from his unit earned All-Patriot League honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

From 2001-04, Rodgers tutored the secondary at New Mexico State. During his tenure, the Aggies amassed 45 interceptions while lowering their passing yardage allowed in each of his final three seasons. Previously, Rodgers worked at Portland State from 1997-2000. He oversaw the Vikings' secondary and special teams in addition to serving as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator.

Prior to Portland State, Rodgers had a two-year stint at San Jose State, working with the secondary and special teams from 1995-96. He started his coaching career as an assistant at Diablo Valley Community College from 1989-94.

Rodgers was also exposed to professional football along the way. He participated in the NFL's Minority Internship Program with the Oakland Raiders during training camp in 1996 and was the defensive backs coach for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe in 1998.

PLAYING AND PERSONAL
A two-time second-team All-Pac 10 Conference selection at California, where he was teammates with Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rodgers was the Golden Bears' special teams captain for three seasons. He called "The Play" in the huddle to defeat Stanford in 1982. Rodgers was the second and fourth player to handle the ball on the famed five-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown on the final play between the two rivals.

Rodgers then played defensive back and wide receiver for three seasons in the Arena Football League. He appeared in the league's first championship game in 1987, catching a 32-yard touchdown pass for the Denver Dynamite in Arena Bowl I.

He graduated from California with a degree in political science.

HISTORY
Defensive back: California 1980-83. Pro linebacker/wide receiver: Chicago Bruisers (AFL) 1987, Denver Dynamite (AFL) 1987, Los Angeles Cobras (AFL) 1988, Sacramento Attack (AFL) 1992. College coach: Diablo Valley Community College 1989-94, San Jose State 1995-96, Portland State 1997-2000, New Mexico State 2001-04, Holy Cross 2005-11. Pro coach: joined Panthers in 2012.

COACHING
Richard Rodgers is in his fifth season with the Panthers and his second assisting with the defensive backs. In 2016, Rodgers will be primarily responsible for coaching the team's safeties.

In 2015, Rodgers returned to his roots as assistant defensive backs coach. Before entering the NFL, he gained expertise as a secondary coach for 11 years on the college level. Rodgers worked closely with assistant head coach/secondary coach Steve Wilks to tutor a position group that helped the Panthers rank sixth in the NFL in total defense and win an NFC Championship despite injuries to cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Bene Benwikere. Carolina held opposing quarterbacks to an NFL-low 73.5 passer rating and paced the NFL in interceptions (24), total takeaways (39), points off turnovers (148) and turnover differential (plus-20).

Including the postseason, seven different defensive backs recorded interceptions for the Panthers, including free agent safety Kurt Coleman, who ranked third in the NFL with seven interceptions. Fourth-year cornerback Josh Norman earned his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors after a standout season in which he established career-highs with 15 passes defensed and four interceptions, including two pick-sixes.

Rodgers came to Carolina in 2012 as special teams assistant and took over as special teams coordinator for the final seven games, a position he held through the 2014 season.

In his first full season as the Panthers special teams coordinator in 2013, Rodgers oversaw a unit that jumped to 13th in The Dallas Morning News special teams rankings one year after ranking last. The unit featured record-setting performances from kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman and kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr., while long snapper J.J. Jansen made the Pro Bowl.

Rodgers aided Gano in converting 24-of-27 field goal attempts, including a team-record and NFL-leading six from 50 yards or more, and topping the league with a 79.7 touchback percentage on kickoffs - the best mark in the league since 1992. Rodgers helped Nortman set team records with a gross average of 47.8 yards, which ranked fourth in the NFL, and net average of 41.6 yards, which ranked fifth in the NFL. Ginn set a franchise record and ranked sixth in the NFL with a 12.2-yard punt return average, becoming the first Panthers' punt returner to rank in the top 10 since 2008.

During the last seven games of the 2012 season, Rodgers had a positive effect on special teams play, helping the Panthers improve from 31st to 14th in the NFL in punt return average and from 18th to 10th in punt coverage. Rodgers' units also led the league in opponents' kickoff return average following a 30th-place finish in 2011.

Rodgers joined Carolina with 23 years of college experience. He coached at Holy Cross from 2005-11, spending his last six seasons as defensive coordinator after handling the secondary in 2005. Rodgers developed the Crusaders into one of the top defenses in the Patriot League. Five players from his unit earned All-Patriot League honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

From 2001-04, Rodgers tutored the secondary at New Mexico State. During his tenure, the Aggies amassed 45 interceptions while lowering their passing yardage allowed in each of his final three seasons. Previously, Rodgers worked at Portland State from 1997-2000. He oversaw the Vikings' secondary and special teams in addition to serving as the team's strength and conditioning coordinator.

Prior to Portland State, Rodgers had a two-year stint at San Jose State, working with the secondary and special teams from 1995-96. He started his coaching career as an assistant at Diablo Valley Community College from 1989-94.

Rodgers was also exposed to professional football along the way. He participated in the NFL's Minority Internship Program with the Oakland Raiders during training camp in 1996 and was the defensive backs coach for the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe in 1998.

PLAYING AND PERSONAL
A two-time second-team All-Pac 10 Conference selection at California, where he was teammates with Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rodgers was the Golden Bears' special teams captain for three seasons. He called "The Play" in the huddle to defeat Stanford in 1982. Rodgers was the second and fourth player to handle the ball on the famed five-lateral kickoff return for a touchdown on the final play between the two rivals.

Rodgers then played defensive back and wide receiver for three seasons in the Arena Football League. He appeared in the league's first championship game in 1987, catching a 32-yard touchdown pass for the Denver Dynamite in Arena Bowl I.

He graduated from California with a degree in political science.

HISTORY
Defensive back: California 1980-83. Pro linebacker/wide receiver: Chicago Bruisers (AFL) 1987, Denver Dynamite (AFL) 1987, Los Angeles Cobras (AFL) 1988, Sacramento Attack (AFL) 1992. College coach: Diablo Valley Community College 1989-94, San Jose State 1995-96, Portland State 1997-2000, New Mexico State 2001-04, Holy Cross 2005-11. Pro coach: joined Panthers in 2012.