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Panthers' coordinators have Rivera's blessing if teams come calling

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera won’t keep either of his coordinators from interviewing for a head coaching position this week if the opportunity arises.

"If somebody comes a calling, we’ll certainly allow it to a happen," Rivera said Monday. "I’ll be thrilled for them if somebody does call."

Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Mike Shula are prospective candidates after helping the Panthers to an NFL-best 15-1 record.

McDermott’s defense finished sixth in the NFL, the fourth straight year he’s had a top-10 unit. The Panthers led the league in scoring (31.2 points per game) under Shula.

The NFL allows coaches involved in the playoffs to interview during the bye week.

There are openings with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans. There could be openings in Indianapolis, Detroit and New Orleans.

McDermott has made it no secret that he wants to be a head coach. He has ties to Philadelphia, where he served from 1998-2010 in several capacities.

McDermott said he would consider interviewing this week if the right opportunity came along.

"Balancing that is not a concern of mine," he said of staying focused on Carolina’s playoff preparation and his future. "If and when those opportunities arise, I’ve prepared for a number of years, and those will take care of themselves."

Shula didn’t indicate he would interview if offered the opportunity this week.

"I’m just locked in on our next game, whoever that is," said Shula, the former head coach at Alabama (2003-06) and the son of Hall of Fame NFL coach Don Shula.

Rivera approached the interview process both ways as a coordinator. As the defensive coordinator at San Diego, he declined to interview with Buffalo and Seattle during the bye week following the 2009 season.

He was hired by the Panthers following the 2010 season.

"I’ve told the guys it’s up to them," Rivera said of when Shula and McDermott might want to interview. "If it’s something they want to do, I’d be happy to support them."