Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has a simple directive for his players starting on day one: "Be a man."
Rivera has certainly earned his "man card." He was the son of an Army officer and played linebacker for Mike Ditka on the 1985 Chicago Bears as part of Buddy Ryan's ferocious "46" defense. He returned to the Super Bowl with the Bears as defensive coordinator in February 2007 and has been coaching the Panthers since 2011.
Rivera's definition of "manhood" goes far beyond toughness on the football field. As a husband and father, he has a keen sense of priorities.
"The greatest gift you can give children is to love and respect their mother," Rivera told Playbook, citing a similar quote from the late John Wooden. Rivera spoke to Playbook after he and CBS sportscaster James Brown led a seminar in Charlotte, N.C., sponsored by A Call to Men designed to teach high school coaches how they can help prevent domestic violence by helping players grow into men who are responsible citizens