Ron Rivera intends to keep coaching while he fights squamous cell cancer in his neck but the head coach has backup plans prepared if he must take a leave of absence, according to reports. Washington Football's head coach informed his team of the cancer diagnosis on Thursday night.
"I'm planning to go on coaching. 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, you’ll start feeling it,” Rivera said via ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The quote suggests Rivera faces treatment that could last a month or more, so it makes sense for the head coach to develop contingency plans if forced to leave the team.
Of the assistant coaches on the roster only defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has head coaching experience. He coached nine years with the Jaguars and three with the Raiders, compiling a 93-94 career record with four playoff games.
Rivera took over the Washington Football team in January with a pledge to change the organizational culture and rebuild a winner. In the eight months since his arrival, the team has been a near-constant source of turmoil and Rivera has been the leading voice of pragmatism and hope.
Reports say his cancer was caught in the early stages and should be beatable.
Washington does not practice on Friday and is expected to be back on the field Saturday morning. Stay tuned for much more on this situation.