Since Washington Football’s head coach Ron Rivera announced he was diagnosed with lymph node cancer on Thursday night, the NFL community has shared their support and appreciation for Rivera. The most recent name in the league to offer support for Rivera was Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who shared a message for his former coach of three years on Friday.
“I think when you think about coach Rivera the first thing I think about is toughness,” McCaffrey said. “He’s going to handle it like a champ. I already know it. My prayers go to him and his family.”
The star running back played under Rivera for the first three years of his career from 2017-2019 in Carolina. In that three-year span, he was named first-team All-Pro in 2019, second-team All-Pro in 2018, made the Pro Bowl in 2019, set multiple NFL and Panthers franchise records and became a member of both the 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards club.
McCaffrey was a Panther for a third of Rivera’s nine-year run in Carolina in which he took the team to the Super Bowl in 2015 and won NFL's Coach of the Year twice.
Rivera informed the team that his diagnosis came in the early stages and is curable. He expects to continue coaching the team throughout his treatment, but a backup plan is in place.
McCaffrey joined the Carolina Panthers organization, which also wished Rivera well by tweeting their motto “#KeepPounding” as he begins his battle with cancer.
He also reminded Rivera that the Panthers organization and the North and South Carolina communities would be there for their former coach through his fight.
“I know the whole Carolinas have his back,” he said.