Football Team

Rivera's treatments are nearly done and he's feeling 'very positive'

Football Team

Sunday is an important day for Ron Rivera's football team, as they take on the Cowboys in a game they really need to win in order to stay relevant in the NFC East.

Monday, though, is an even more important day for Rivera himself, as it's scheduled to be his final cancer treatment.

Washington's coach was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in late August and began treatments a few days before the Sept. 13 opener.

When talking to reporters after practice on Friday, Rivera expressed optimism about his outlook, optimism that is shared by those overseeing his battle.

"Has been good so far," he said. "I met with both doctors this week on Tuesday and Thursday and they both are very positive about the progress I've made."

"I've got follow-up checkups and scans left to do," he continued. "But what I've been told is it's been headed in the right direction."

Throughout the past six weeks or so, Rivera's done an insanely impressive job maintaining a positive attitude when discussing his health with the media.

There were times, though — like a few instances where he missed practice as well as Washington's matchup with the Ravens, where he was visibly exhausted on the sidelines — that the cancer and the treatments really took a toll on him, as he explained on Friday.

"The fatigue, how tired you get, at times you get nauseous, honestly at times your equilibrium is messed around with, almost a sense of vertigo," Rivera said. "It hits you at anytime, anywhere."

 

Rivera, like most NFL lifers, is used to staying at the facility until well into the night. Lately, however, he's had to go home around 5 o'clock simply because he was so worn down.

"Like I told my wife, it's like having a 300-pound gorilla on your back," he said.

Rivera got frustrated along the way because, understandably so, his state affected how he coached. He felt limited at times, which really perturbed him.

Fortunately, he'll soon be able to start working his way back to his normal level of activity and commitment. That excites him greatly.

"I'm looking forward to that," Rivera said. "It's probably going to take three or four weeks after I get my last treatment because of the recovery period, but I really am looking forward to it."