Ron Rivera and Cam Newton will be linked for the rest of their days.

The Panthers drafted Newton with the No. 1 pick in 2011, just a few months after they hired Rivera to succeed John Fox as head coach. Thus began the odd-couple pairing of the reserved, understated ex-linebacker who bided his time climbing the coaching ladder, and the loud, brash Heisman Trophy- and national championship-winning quarterback who was a star before he took his first NFL snap.

The two were almost literally connected at the hip on game days, with Newton standing to Rivera’s immediate right for the national anthem every week — a gesture that pleased Rivera, the son of a career Army man.

Given their backgrounds, one of the more ironic twists in this week’s “homeCaming” game pitting Rivera’s Washington Football Team against the newly reunited Newton and the Panthers is this: For all the former Carolina players, staff members and front office personnel Rivera has added in Washington, the one player who seemed most likely to join him never got a call.

Why didn’t Rivera bring Newton to Washington? It’s fair to wonder since the head coach brought seemingly everyone he ever coached, coached with, or shared a meal with during his time in Carolina. That’s barely a joke. Thirty-two current Washington players, coaches or front office personnel were with the Panthers during Rivera’s nine seasons, including backup center Tyler Larsen, special teams contributor David Mayo and quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinicke, who will make his ninth start of the season on Sunday.