Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera has a battle off the field that is larger than any final score he'll see on the field this season: squamous cell carcinoma located in a lymph node - a form of skin cancer.
This recent diagnosis has forced Rivera to face treatment head on throughout the season, causing him to miss practices for chemo, proton radiation therapy, and receive precautionary IV during halftime of games.
Recently, Rivera opened up about the struggles of coaching and fighting through cancer.
“It’s been very disruptive. But, I really do appreciate what they’re doing at the Cancer Institute. They work very hard at trying to make sure everything goes as easy and smooth as possible for the patients. Not just because it’s me — I notice it with all the other ones," Rivera said. "Again, it’s all part of the protocol as I go through my therapies. It also speaks to the importance and the value of having good medical funding. You really have to have some sort of medical program for folks. To navigate through this is a bear, also.”
Rivera also went on to talk about how his fight has put a strain on his day-to-day operations.
“It’s tough because I don’t get a chance to pop into meetings like I’d like to. I don’t get a chance to bounce around from one position to the other. It’s where you give an encouraging note or a cross note to push a kid along to get them to do things the right way," Rivera said. "I have a different impact when I say things to the players as opposed to the positional coaches or the coordinator. For me to not be able to be there — unfortunately, they’re not getting the full gambit of who I am right now. That’s disappointing on myself.”
While he goes through treatment, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will step in for any moments Rivera isn't available to fully operate as head coach,