Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera’s older brother, Mickey, passed away Tuesday after a two-year fight with pancreatic cancer, Rivera announced on his Twitter account Tuesday evening.
Mickey Rivera, who was three years older than his 53-year-old coaching brother, lived in Reno, Nev., with his wife and children. He and his wife owned three pizza stores in Reno and watched every Panthers game on TV after his younger brother got the job in 2011.
Ron Rivera gave his brother the game ball from the Panthers’ playoff win against the Cardinals in January.
In an interview with the Observer the following week, Mickey Rivera said he was humbled by the gesture by his younger brother while remaining upbeat about his disease.
“You can’t live your life like you’re dying every day,” Mickey Rivera said. “Then you have no quality of life at all. Things are going to work out one way or the other, and you enjoy your life.”
Panthers sign two tackles: Carolina signed offensive tackles Tony Hills and Davonte Wallace on Tuesday, one day after reports of the impending retirement of Jonathan Martin.
Hills, a former fourth-round pick in 2008, played in three games for the Cowboys last season. At 6-foot-5 and 305 pounds, Hills is now playing for his eighth team since being drafted by the Steelers in 2008.
Hills saw just five snaps during the regular season last year and three in two playoff games. He has primarily played right tackle with some experience at guard.
Wallace, standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 315 pounds, was an undrafted free agent last year with the Dolphins out of New Mexico State but did not see any game action.
The Panthers have yet to announce the retirement of Martin, and the transaction has yet to go through with the league. But Tuesday’s moves make it clear the team is moving on after Martin decided to retire rather than deal with rehab from a recent back injury.
To make room on the roster for the signings, the Panthers waived running back Darrin Reaves, who spent time on both the practice squad and active roster last year as the Panthers dealt with a spate of injuries at the position.