Rivera has been down road before without middle linebacker

In his first year as a defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera faced the big challenge of playing without one of the game’s best middle linebackers.

In his first year as head coach, history has repeated itself.

The worst fears of the Carolina Panthers were confirmed this afternoon when they learned Jon Beason will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon. Beason was injured in Sunday’s season opener at Arizona, and had been dealing with Achilles issues this summer. Rivera was forced to deal with the loss of Brian Urlacher for half of the season in 2004 as the coordinator of the Chicago Bears.

Beason had surgery Aug. 22 to relieve discomfort for a bone bruise that was originally described as Achilles tendinitis, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Beason has been selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls and his loss creates a real void in the middle of a young defense.

“I've got to give Jon credit. He was going 100 miles an hour when he went down," Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said. "It's just a shame thing. It's a freak thing. He's a warrior and I'll take those guys seven days a week."

Dan Connor is expected to replace Beason, per the report. But there is a serious loss of talent here as well as athletic ability and Rivera and McDermott will have to deal with that issue.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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