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The termination of Ron Rivera; ex general managers to counsel on Commanders’ revamp

Amid a comprehensive restructuring of the franchise’s football leadership that commenced with the ousting of coach Ron Rivera on Monday morning, Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris has recruited two notable executives — former Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers and former Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman — to aid his ownership group with searches for a new head of football operations and head coach, team officials told ESPN.

Rivera, who joined the Commanders in 2020, had ultimate authority in all football determinations and appointed the team’s front office. However, subsequent to clinching the NFC East in Rivera’s initial season with a 7-9 record, the Commanders failed to achieve a winning record.

“I want every Washington fan to know how much I appreciate your unwavering support,” Rivera expressed in a statement. “Through all the name changes, roster moves, non-football headlines and seasons that did not meet your expectations, you still stood by this team. We did win an NFC East title in 2020, but we fell short since then and for that, I am truly disappointed.”

The team concluded this season at 4-13 and occupied the last spot in the NFC East, accumulating a 26-40-1 record in his four seasons at the helm.

In a statement, Harris expressed gratitude to Rivera, referring to him as a “good man” and “thoughtful leader” but remarking that “the results this season were not satisfactory, and a tactical change in leadership and approach is indispensable.

Addressing the timetable for installing new leadership, Harris conveyed to reporters on Monday that the process would be expeditious with the team already issuing multiple requests for interviews. However, he emphasized that it would be a deliberate approach.

“You have to make long-term decisions and do things one person at a time, one athlete at a time,” stated Harris. “So sometimes they take longer. So I think what my view is that we want it to be as quick as we can, but the ultimate goal is to be an elite team.”

Myers, renowned for constructing four championships with the Warriors and currently functioning as an ESPN NBA analyst, and Spielman, a 30-year NFL front office executive, will collaborate with Harris and limited partners Mitch Rales, Magic Johnson, and David Blitzer as part of an advisory committee devised to reshape the Commanders’ front office and coaching staff, team officials informed ESPN.

Initiating immediately, Myers will spearhead the identification and coordination of interviews with candidates for the top football operations and head-coaching roles, with Spielman closely collaborating with him, officials disclosed.

The appeal of the Commanders’ vacancies will be heightened by the possession of the No. 2 pick in a quarterback-rich 2024 draft and a projected salary cap space that ranks among the most in the NFL this offseason.

Harris will actively participate in the search processes, but his enduring association with Myers — a two-time NBA executive of the year — evolved in recent months and persuaded the owner that Myers’ championship track record and industry connections could significantly impact the establishment of Washington’s new leadership structure.

“Bob Myers is a winner; who wouldn’t want him on your team trying to help your franchise?,” expressed Harris. “He knows how to identify talent, how to build winning franchises, winning cultures.”

“Undoubtedly, Rick Spielman brings a treasure trove of football knowledge and …. brings that expertise in football essential when you’re evaluating candidates.”

The current Commanders’ front office, including GM Martin Mayhew and executive VP of football/player personnel Marty Hurney, will persist on the staff throughout the search process, officials remarked. The new head of football operations and head coach will determine their prospects with the Commanders, team officials informed ESPN.

“This is a pivotal offseason for us, and we won’t evade the necessary toil to regain a winning culture from top to bottom,” Harris declared in a statement shared with ESPN. “… I’ve known Bob a long time and witnessed him construct four championship teams and a highly successful organization in Golden State. … He is innovative, thoughtful, well-connected across sports and comprehends what it takes to fortify and perpetuate championship infrastructure. I think he’s going to be incredibly additive.”

Myers relinquished his duties as GM of the Warriors in June, accruing four championships in his final eight years on the job. The Warriors reached the NBA Finals six times in Myers’ 11 seasons as GM, enduring defeat only to Toronto (2019) and Cleveland (2016). Myers spearheaded the Warriors’ 2016 free agent pursuit of Kevin Durant, who contributed to two titles with the Warriors before sustaining an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals.

Myers was appointed as an assistant GM in 2011 and promoted to GM in 2012, and aside from Steph Curry’s arrival predating his own, oversaw two Curry contract extensions, drafts, trades, and signings that sculpted one of the league’s contemporary dynasties. Myers was a conspicuous player agent before joining the Warriors’ front office in 2011.

Myers embarked on his tenure with ESPN as an NBA studio and game analyst in August and will persist in that capacity.

“I have been fortunate to know Josh Harris for many years and his dedication to constructing championship-caliber teams is what enticed me here,” Myers articulated in a statement. “In my experience, championship infrastructure commences with a robust ownership group that prioritizes culture and invests in attracting the industry’s most talented and innovative leaders. … This is the type of opportunity that truly motivates me, and I eagerly anticipate contributing to the next chapter of this illustrious franchise.”

Spielman — who served as the Vikings’ GM for nine years until his termination in January 2022 — possesses 30 years of NFL front office experience.

Harris procured the Commanders for an NFL-record $6.05 billion in May, succeeding Daniel Snyder, whose 24-year tenure as the franchise’s owner was plagued by scandal, dysfunction, and losing seasons.

“It wasn’t facile, and there is a lot more to be accomplished,” Rivera remarked about the Commanders in his statement, “but I believe we instigated meaningful alterations to the culture of this organization.”

Rivera boasts a coaching record of 102-103-2 in the regular season. He steered the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl in the 2015 season.

“My life has always been football, and it is a wonderful life,” Rivera expressed in his statement. “As a player, and now as a coach, I’ve witnessed in amazement every week as the impossible is achieved repeatedly on the field. I hold immense respect for the NFL because of all that it does to uplift communities and unite people. Football has become an integral part of America and America is a part of what is truly great about football.”

ESPN’s John Keim contributed to this report.

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