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Washington football team’s Ron Rivera confirms he has cancer, plans to continue coaching

Diagnosis showed squamous cell carcinoma located in a lymph node, the team said. Rivera said the cancer is “very treatable and curable” and is only in the early stages. He informed the players about the diagnosis in a team meeting on Thursday night. Currently, he said, nothing changes with his coaching.

“I’m planning to go on coaching,” reports say. “Doctors encouraged me to do it too. They said, ‘If you feel strongly, do it. Don’t slow down; do your physical activities.’ But everyone keeps telling me by week three or four, and you’ll start feeling it.” Mayo Clinic report says squamous cell cancer is a type of skin cancer that is highly unlikely to threaten one’s life but can spread throughout the body to cause serious complications.


“Rivera’s cancer diagnosis is a lesson for everyone Washington football coach Ron Rivera has recently been diagnosed with cancer but intends to continue coaching.”

Rivera said he has a Plan B set in motion, though he was not ready to divulge more information concerning the matter. Defensive coordinator for the Washington football team Jack Del Rio has been a head coach for the Jaguars and Raiders (2003-11) and (2015-17), respectively. No one on the staff has to experience head-coaching in the league.

Rivera met with Jack Del Rio, who stood in for John Fox when he had health issues, about plans for Del Rio to step in incase Rivera would have to leave the team. Rivera is also not in charge of the team’s units, which allows for each side of the ball to have a level of continuity if he has to miss time during the week.

The 58-year-old Rivera has consulted with several doctors and specialists and established a treatment plan with the team and outside specialists that calls for Rivera to receive five treatments per week for seven weeks.

One player said Rivera was calm when discussing it and told them he would need a few months of treatment but that they shouldn’t worry about him, and it would not be a disruptive situation.

Rivera said he noticed a lump on his neck somewhere in July, and after a couple of weeks when it didn’t go away, he saw a doctor. He said two weeks ago, he was told of cancer.

“I was stunned,” he said. “But I was angry because I feel like I’m in the best health I’ve been in.”

He has led the Washington football team through a difficult offseason that featured numerous off-field issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, a team name change, and a report detailing sexual harassment allegations.

But with practice beginning, Rivera had been upbeat because he could focus on football. Washington started working in full pads Tuesday, and Rivera appeared to be his usual self during video conference interview sessions with the media. Other times, though, Rivera had other different things on his mind.

“I’ve just been angry, “The thing that I find out how many people that have gone through this. Outpatient therapy, proton therapy.” Rivera said he gathered the team in a big circle after their evening meeting to tell them in by himself.

“Some were stunned. A bunch came up and wished me well,” Rivera said. “I said, ‘I’m going to be a little more cranky, so don’t piss me off.'”


“Ron Rivera’s cancer diagnosis came as a huge blow to the team; however, they express their support and love for the Washington head coach- Rivera is positive he will be fine.”

Defensive end Ryan Anderson says, “He’s a players’ coach,” So far, I like him. I trust him. I’d run through a wall for him.”

“I’m going through the proper treatment,” he said. “This will be fine.”

Later Thursday, Washington’s new team president Jason Wright posted a tweet in support of Rivera.

Ron Eugene Rivera has been active with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ever since his brother, Mickey, was diagnosed with it. He later died in 2015 but remained a source of inspiration for Ron Rivera, who was absent a few days in training camp to be at the funeral.

“The one thing I shared with the players is that my brother Mickey made a total commitment,” Rivera said. “I have told the players how making a total commitment is so important.”

One year later, after his brother’s death, he went on to share what he had learned.

“That no matter what my situation and circumstances were, as long as I have my health, I’m OK,” Rivera said. “That’s the biggest thing I learned from that.”




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