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Panthers ST coach DeHaven taking medical leave

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Carolina Panthers veteran special-teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven is taking a leave of absence to focus on an undisclosed medical issue.

Russ Purnell will take over DeHaven’s responsibilities. Purnell was Indianapolis Colts special teams coach from 2002 to 2008. He becomes the third special teams coach for the Panthers since the end of the season.

DeHaven was promoted in February. Richard Rodgers was let go in the offseason after the Panthers allowed four special-teams touchdowns in 2014.

DeHaven, a 28-year veteran, did not comment.

The nature of DeHaven’s illness was not released by the team, but ESPN reported it is believed to be serious.

“Our thoughts are with Bruce and his family, and we wish him a quick recovery,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “Out of respect for Bruce and his family’s privacy, no additional information will be disclosed.”

Purnell served as the special teams coach for Jacksonville from 2009-2011. Prior to that, he was a special teams coach for two Super Bowl winners — the 2006 Colts and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.


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