Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera has more to worry about this week than his team's upcoming NFC playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks after an overnight fire at his home left his family displaced on Monday.
The Rivera family's 7,000-square-foot, two-story Charlotte home sustained "significant" damage from an early morning blaze that spewed heavy smoke and fire from the attic two days after Carolina's 27-16 playoff victory over Arizona.
No one was injured in the two-alarm blaze, which took about an hour to extinguish.
The Charlotte Fire Investigative Task Force determined the cause of the "accidental fire" to be a fireplace and estimated the damages at approximately $500,000.
"The big thing is we're all right," Rivera said. "This opportunity to work and continue to work is very reassuring. It could have been worse."
Rivera and his wife, Stephanie, along with his two brothers and their wives were in the house sleeping at the time of the fire. All made it out safely along with two family pets.
Rivera suspected the fire might have started in a gas fireplace, located on the opposite side of the master bedroom wall where he and Stephanie were sleeping. He said they both awoke when they smelled smoke. He repeatedly stressed at his news conference the importance of having a home security system or smoke alarms, saying it probably helped save his family's life.
Rams' Kroenke plans on L.A. stadium
A development group that includes a company controlled by the owner of the St. Louis Rams announced plans to build an 80,000-seat stadium in suburban Los Angeles that could become home for an NFL team.
The proposal that envisions a stadium rising on the site of former horse track Hollywood Park again raised the hopes of fans that Los Angeles could end its two-decade drought without an NFL team. It becomes the latest in a string of stadium proposals in the Los Angeles area since the 1994 exit of the Rams and Raiders from Southern California.
The proposal stands out, however, because of the involvement of Rams owner Stan Kroenke. His company entered a joint venture with Stockbridge Capital Group, which had been developing a 238-acre tract of homes, parks and office space in Inglewood, Calif.
Kroenke's company owns an adjacent 60 acres, which would be merged into the overall development.
The plan adds pressure on the city of St. Louis to strike a deal for a new stadium for the Rams, who are unhappy in the Edward Jones Dome.
New Orleans Saints linebacker Junior Galette was arrested in a domestic violence case in which a woman said her face was scratched and her ear bloodied after an earring was ripped off.
Galette, 26, was booked with misdemeanor simple battery stemming from the disturbance at the player's house in Kenner, La., a New Orleans suburb. Prosecutors could later charge him. He left jail on $600 bond Monday.
Because the case is in its early stages, it was unclear what punishment Galette could face from the NFL, which this past season adopted new codes of conduct involving domestic violence.
• Former Vikings cornerback Fred Smoot was acquitted of misdemeanor domestic assault following a bench trial in Virginia. Smoot testified in his own defense Monday in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He denied hitting his former girlfriend, Valerie Jackson, though he admitted kicking down a bathroom door in an effort to retrieve a set of car keys.
• Add Mike Shanahan to the list of Buffalo coaching candidates. Team officials interviewed the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach in San Francisco on Sunday, a person familiar with the process told the Associated Press. The Bills are trying to replace Doug Marrone, who abruptly stepped down last week.
• Allie Sherman, who took the New York Giants to NFL title games in his first three seasons as their coach, died on Saturday in his Manhattan home at age 91.