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Panthers eye assistants to fill vacancy; team won't trade pick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers plan to hold onto the No. 1 pick in the draft and are leaning toward hiring an NFL assistant coach to replace John Fox.

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Owner Jerry Richardson said Tuesday that Fox's inability to post consecutive winning seasons is why he's out after Carolina's miserable 2-14 season. Richardson acknowledged part of the reason he let Fox coach in the last year of his contract was he and his assistants were due a combined $11.4 million this season.

Richardson said he was on board with general manager Marty Hurney's decision to go young this season, which forced Fox to use inexperienced players.

The Panthers have numerous needs, but Richardson says it's unlikely they'll trade the top pick.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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