CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule has filed an arbitration suit with the NFL against the Carolina Panthers seeking about $5 million in offset severance compensation, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Rhule was fired as Panthers head coach on Oct. 10. He has since hired high-profile New York City litigator John Singer of Singer Deutsch LLP to handle the lawsuit, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the arbitration suit has not been made public.
A Panthers spokesman would not confirm the suit and declined to comment to the AP. Rhule, reached by text, also declined to comment.
CBS Sports was first to report the arbitration suit.
Rhule was fired after Week 5 of the NFL season, less than three years into a seven-year, $62 million contract. He was 11-27 as head coach with the Panthers. He was owed approximately $34 million at the time he was fired by billionaire David Tepper, the NFL's second-wealthiest owner.
Rhule returned to college coaching in November when he was hired by Nebraska, receiving a reported eight-year, $72 million contract that seemingly offset what the Panthers owed him. But the arbitration suit alleges the Panthers still owe him about $5 million because of how the contract with Carolina was structured.
The Panthers introduced Frank Reich as their new head coach at a news conference on Tuesday.
Tepper said he made a “mistake” hiring Rhule, whom he described as a "CEO-type head coach.” Tepper added that it is “preferable to have a coach that is really extraordinary on one side of the ball or the other side of the ball.”
“Listen, I’ll self-admit — we could have run a better process last time,” Tepper said. “And I am learning. ... With all humility, I could have done better, OK? I’m not saying that Rhule wasn’t a good coach. I’m not saying that. Please don’t interpret it that way. I’m saying I could have run a better process last time. I do believe that. I think this time we were very thorough. I was in every single interview.”
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