LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. - Ron Rivera, head coach of the Washington Football Team, has been diagnosed with cancer.
According to an official statement from the team, Rivera was recently diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) located in a lymph node and detected from a self-care check. The team says the cancer is in an early stage and is considered very treatable and curable, providing a good prognosis for a full recovery.
Rivera has consulted with leading Doctors and Oncology Specialists and is establishing his treatment plan in conjunction with the team’s medical staff and his outside physicians. For now, Coach has asked that the team keep things business as usual and remain focused, but a “Plan B” is in place if it is determined that he should take some time off.
"Coach Rivera wishes to extend his thanks to the team doctors and athletic trainers, and all of the healthcare specialists who will be assisting him through his treatment plan," the team said in a statement. "In addition, Coach Rivera wishes to extend his heartfelt thanks to the Snyders, coaches, players, staff and fans of the Washington Football Team, as well as his family for their love and support during this time. The Washington Football Team wishes Coach Rivera a speedy recovery, and we will be supporting him every step of the way."
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Rivera revealed the news to his team Thursday, and plans to go on coaching this season. "I was stunned," Rivera told Schefter. "But I was angry because I feel like I feel like I’m in best health I’ve been in."
Rivera, 58 years-old, was introduced as Washington's new head coach January 2nd.
With more than 20 years of coaching experience, Rivera served as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons prior to coming to Washington. In Charlotte, he led the team to three straight divisional titles and an appearance in Super Bowl 50. Rivera was also recognized twice as the NFL Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, in 2013 and in 2015.
Rivera began his NFL career as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears in 1984 and became a Super Bowl champion in his second season when the Bears beat the New England Patriots 46–10 in Super Bowl XX.