Ron Rivera: Chicago game is big

One of the most impressive things I’ve seen out of Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera is his honesty.

The latest example of that came in this radio interview with Chicago’s WSCR, Rivera was asked about his departure from the Chicago Bears' coaching staff after the 2006 season. Rivera’s contract wasn’t renewed and he ended up moving on to become defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Rivera previously had played linebacker for the Bears and done an earlier stint as an assistant coach with the team.

Rivera and the Panthers face the Bears on Sunday.

"I'm not shying away from the fact that this is a big one for me,'' Rivera said. "I really feel it. These games are all big, but for me it has a little something extra because it is Chicago.''

See, it’s really not that hard to admit the truth. But so many other coaches and players would have danced around that one and said something like “it’s just another game."

Rivera is refreshing in that regard. He can give an honest answer, but, at the same time, he doesn’t stir up controversy. Rivera said he holds no grudge against Chicago coach Lovie Smith.

"I've said it before, this was all football,'' Rivera said. "As long as it's not a personal thing or issue like that, it's all football business. We just go on about our business and do the things we do. I'm looking forward to it. I really am. Plus there were some guys that were there when I was there. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Chris Harris is back. These are super guys. Roberto Garza. These are guys that I've gotten to know and I was with for a while. The coaching staff, I still know a lot of those guys there.''