Ron Rivera still wants to coach or be a defensive coordinator, says several teams have expressed interest

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Ron Rivera isn't done with coaching in the NFL just yet.

On Wednesday, he told ESPN's John Keim that even if his next opportunity isn't as a head coach, if a team approached him about becoming its defensive coordinator, he'd be open to it.

With the playoffs still ongoing, the NFL coaching scene still hasn't completely settled. As of right now, there are six head-coaching vacancies, including the Washington Commanders — Rivera's last post.

The Commanders' new owner, Josh Harris, fired Rivera on Jan. 8. In his first public comments since being relieved by Washington, Rivera said that he's waiting until next week to really examine the landscape and opportunities available for him.

"I have several opportunities right now," Rivera said. "I just want to make sure it's the right one."

Rivera spent nine seasons at the helm of the Carolina Panthers before serving as the Commanders' head coach the last four years. Before that, he was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers (2008-10), the Chargers linebackers coach in 2007 and the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2006.

So even though it's been 13 seasons since he was a defensive coordinator, Rivera explained that sometimes in order to move forward, one needs to take a step back.

"Sometimes you do have to take a step back," Rivera said. "You take a step back, you learn and grow from it. It's like I told other players, if you look at this year as a lost year, you're [hurting] yourself. You should look at it as a year to learn and understand why things happen. This was probably the greatest learning experience I've had in a while this year. I mean, a lot of things came to light at certain times this past season that I think going forward will really help me."

He told ESPN that he really enjoyed calling the defense for the Commanders over the final five games after he fired Jack Del Rio from his post.

"I enjoyed the heck of it," Rivera said. "I got away from it for 3½ seasons and really felt like I was more of a manager."

Unlike his tenure with the Panthers, in which Rivera won three NFC South titles and took Carolina to the Super Bowl, he only led the Commanders to a division title once during his stay.

Washington never had a winning record under Rivera, although it did win the NFC East his inaugural season with the franchise. In all, he finished 26-40-1 with the Commanders and 4-13 in his final year. Overall, he has a coaching record of 102-103-2.