Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera rang the bell Monday morning after undergoing his final round of cancer treatment.
Rivera had announced in July that he was diagnosed with squamos cell cancer in his lymph nodes, which he was told was “very treatable and curable.” Rivera continued coaching in his first year with the WFT and didn’t miss a game during Washington’s 2-5 start. The WFT beat the Cowboys 25-3 on Sunday in Week 7 ahead of Rivera’s final treatment.
Before Sunday’s game, Rivera told reporters that he’ll have to undergo further scans after his final treatment, but he said, “What I’ve been told is it’s heading in the right direction.”
Rivera has been through seven weeks of treatments, according to ESPN. Monday, he was set to undergo a chemotherapy session and a proton treatment. While Rivera hasn’t missed a game, he’s felt the fatigue set in at times throughout his treatment.
“The fatigue, I told my wife it’s like having a 300-pound gorilla on your back,” Rivera told ESPN.
Rivera’s last chemotherapy treatment before Monday was leading into a Week 4 game against the Ravens. He could be seen during that game looking weakened on the sideline, needing to sit on the bench at times and using the help of a team employee to get to the locker room at halftime.
Washington has a bye in Week 8, so Rivera will have time to recover from his final round of treatments before returning to the sideline in Week 9 against the Giants.
Rivera’s perseverence has served as a source of inspiration for his players and coaching staff throughout his treatments. Washington guard Brandon Scherff told ESPN, “It’s amazing,” and WFT defensive backs coach Chris Harris also was impressed.
“Seeing him go through what he’s going through and still coming out here to work every day is inspiring,” Harris said. “I told [the players], you don’t have anything to complain about. You think you got it bad? You don’t. We’ve got a head coach who’s battling cancer and he’s dedicated enough to where he does that and it zaps the living life out of him and he’s out here with you guys every day as much as he can.”
Rivera is in his first year coaching the Washington Football Team after nine years coaching the Panthers. He’s 78-68-1 in his NFL head-coaching career, and he led the Panthers to a spot in the Super Bowl after the 2015 season.
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