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Still coaching, Ron Rivera takes inspiration from RBG, Stuart Scott, children in cancer fight

Cassandra Negley
·3-min read

Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera plans to continue coaching through chemotherapy treatments, he told “Good Morning America” on Monday.

“First of all it’s who I am,” Rivera said. “Listening to the doctors talking about how important it is to try and do as much of your routine as possible, but they also tell you be careful, listen to your body. There's also people watching me. I'm trying to set the example.”

Rivera was surprised at Washington’s FedEx Field in Week 4 with 450 cardboard cutouts of his family and friends there to support him after a rough week of treatments. The 58-year-old experienced difficulty on the sideline throughout a 31-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and needed to lean on a PR official while walking off the field during halftime.

But he will continue at the helm and takes inspiration from the children he sees undergoing treatments as well as the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stuart Scott.

Rivera continues coaching through chemotherapy

Ron Rivera in a black mask stands on a field, arms crossed.
Ron Rivera will continue coaching, he said, despite undergoing chemotherapy treatments. (Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in the offseason. He has three more weeks of treatments left and doctors have told him it’s “very curable.”

The veteran leader missed Wednesday’s practice for treatment and left Thursday’s practice early. He struggled throughout Sunday’s game, sitting on the bench to rest.

He had a halftime IV during a win against the Eagles last month.

Rivera takes inspiration from RBG, Stuart Scott

He told GMA he was angry when he was first diagnosed and it took people reaching out and sharing their experiences or well wishes that helped “push me forward.” And he took inspiration from former Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died last month at 87 after multiple bouts with cancer.

“Hey, RBG she went through it, so I figure I can too,” he said, via GMA.

As well as inspiration from iconic ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who died in 2015 at the age of 49 from cancer in the appendix.

“I've got three weeks left. One more cycle left to go of chemo. I'm looking forward to it,” he said, via GMA. “As Stuart Scott said, you know, 'I have it. It doesn't have me and it's not how far I have to go, but how far I've gone.’ ”

In a Zoom call with media Monday morning, he praised the children he sees at the hospital who go through chemotherapy treatments.

Rivera is replaced by defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio when he misses time. Washington plays the next three weeks before its scheduled bye week.

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