Panthers GM denies report of coaching search

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A report that the Carolina Panthers have initiated groundwork for a possible coaching search after the season is "unequivocally false," general manager Dave Gettleman told ESPN.com on Sunday.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, quoting league sources, reported on "NFL GameDay Morning" that Carolina already has put in the works the groundwork for a search if a decision is made to part with coach Ron Rivera.

Rapoport said the Panthers had begun background checks to the point one candidate already knows of the team's interest.

Gettleman, at the University of Phoenix Stadium as the 1-2 Panthers prepared to face the Arizona Cardinals, was adamant that was not true.

Entering Sunday's game, Rivera is 13-21, 2-14 in games decided by seven or fewer points, since being named the head coach in 2011.