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ESPN: Washington's Ron Rivera says he has cancer, plans to continue coaching


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Give it hell, Ron. **** Cancer.

 

 

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Washington coach Ron Rivera has been diagnosed with cancer but plans to continue coaching, he told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Thursday night.

 

Rivera told Schefter he was diagnosed with lymph node cancer. The team later said that he has squamous cell cancer of the neck. Rivera said the cancer is in the early stages and is considered "very treatable and curable."

 

Rivera told his players in a team meeting Thursday night. As of now, he said, nothing changes with his job.

 

"I'm planning to go on coaching," he told Schefter. "Doctors encouraged me to do it, too. They said, 'If you feel strongly, do it. Don't slow down, do your physical activities.' But everyone keeps telling me by week three or four, you'll start feeling it."

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, squamous cell cancer is a form of skin cancer. It is usually not life-threatening but can spread throughout the body and cause serious complications.

 

Rivera said he has a Plan B in place, though he wasn't yet ready to divulge more information. Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has been a head coach for two teams -- Jacksonville (2003-11) and Oakland (2015-17). No one else on the staff has head coaching experience in the NFL.

 

Rivera, 58, has consulted with a number of doctors and specialists and is establishing a treatment plan with the team and an outside specialist.

Rivera said he found a lump on his neck in early July, and when it didn't go away after a couple of weeks he visited a doctor. He said he was told of the cancer two weeks ago.

 

"I was stunned," he said. "But I was angry because I feel like I'm in the best health I've been in."

 

Rivera has led Washington through a tumultuous offseason that featured numerous off-field issues, ranging from dealing with the coronavirus pandemic to a name change to a report detailing sexual harassment allegations in the organization.

 

But lately, Rivera was upbeat as he could focus on football with practice beginning. The team started working in full pads Tuesday, and Rivera appeared to be his normal self during Zoom interview sessions with the media.

 

However, during other times Rivera clearly had other things on his mind.

"I've just been angry," he told Schefter. "The thing that I find out how many people that have gone through this. Outpatient therapy, proton therapy."

 

Rivera said he gathered the players in a big circle after their evening meeting so he could tell them in person.

 

"Some were stunned. A bunch came up and wished me well," Rivera said. "I said, 'I'm going to be a little more cranky, so don't piss me off.'"

 

Players have taken to Rivera, hired by owner Dan Snyder after the 2019 season.

 

"He's definitely a player's coach," defensive end Ryan Anderson said earlier in the day. "So far, I like him. I trust him. I'd run through a wall for him."

 

Rivera was buoyed by the support he said he has received from the organization and health care specialists.

"I'm going through the proper treatment," he said. "This will be fine."

Washington posted a tweet later Thursday in support of Rivera.

 

Rivera has been active with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ever since his brother, Mickey, was diagnosed with the disease. He died two years later in 2015, but he remained a source of inspiration for Rivera, who missed a few days in training camp to attend the funeral.

 

"The thing I shared with the players is that my brother Mickey made a total commitment," Rivera said at the time. "I have told the players how making a total commitment is so important."

 

A year after his brother's death, he shared what he had learned from the experience.

"That no matter what my situation and circumstances were, as long as I have my health I'm OK," Rivera said. "That's the biggest thing I learned from that."

 

Edited by Renegade7
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I got the impression he caught it early.

And also understand it's very treatable if caught early.

So that should be good news.

 

Somewhat unrelated, but I liked reading this  "Ryan Anderson said earlier in the day. "I'd run through a wall for him."

Edited by Malapropismic Depository
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1 minute ago, Malapropismic Depository said:

I got the impression he caught it early.

And also understand it's very treatable if caught early.

So that should be good news.

 

That's my takeaway as well, plus the need to keep things in perspective as much as we can as hard as that can be. Life comes out you fast, it does not care. 

 

Where were we two weeks ago and he said nothing about trying to put out our fires? Saying nothing about his.

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Can we realistically expect him to coach going through chemotherapy? I know he wants to, and I respect the hell out of him for it because he's a warrior, but it will be draining on his body.

Edited by Burgundy Yoda
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Reminds me of what AP said about Alex Smith, and basically seeing make that incredible comeback means there's no excuses for other teammates not to give 100%.

But to see Rivera continue coaching through this, has take that to a whole new level.

We have some warriors on this team, that's for sure.

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1 minute ago, Burgundy Yoda said:

Can we realistically expect him to coach going through chemotherapy? I know he wants to, and I respect the hell out of him for it because he's a warrior, but it will be draining on his body. 

So ****ing sad to hear, just complete jaw dropping..I'm speechless..wanna go several different ways with this..I could see him missing time..buckle up folks jdr could be our head coach for the season..ron will beat this and get well soon!

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Get well Ron. Do what you need to do.

 

If you have to take time off, you have left a quality staff to run things and I'm sure Jack will do the job; if called upon as interim coach.

 

 

Any comments from Dan yet?

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I had to look it up - Squamous Skin Cancer... sounds like it's definitely beatable if it's not too aggressive.  Here's to Coach Rivera's health and recovery! 

8 minutes ago, Burgundy Yoda said:

Can we realistically expect him to coach going through chemotherapy? I know he wants to, and I respect the hell out of him for it because he's a warrior, but it will be draining on his body.

Chemo treatment has come a long way in the last decade or so.  They have much better management of the side effects and can give medications to deal with the after affects of the treatment.

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I wish him his health, and his ability to work, in that order.  Outlook seems positive so lets go with that.  If JDR gets the call up, lets remember that Ron sought him out personally, and have faith that he can navigate some part of the season as a Head Coach as he has in the past, if need be.

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Ron is in great shape. He's detected his very treatable cancer early, and has access and resources to see a team of the finest physicians on Earth. He's got this. 

 

We'll all be cruising alongside the Riverboat for years to come. 

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Now I’m not an oncologist but I do have access to google, and it’s telling me that SCC is a skin cancer. And that if it was found in a lymph node, that doesn’t really meet the qualifications for “early stage” cancer. Still likely treatable, sure, but potentially much more serious than the press release made it out to be. 

 

Stage III (stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma): The cancer has spread into facial bones or 1 nearby lymph node, but not to other organs.
 

https://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-types/skin-cancer/stages

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Sad news...but we are team sad news. 

 

Good news is that I have seen friends recover from this type. So I have very good faith in Rivera beeing able to beat this. But treatment is no walk in the park. It might suck for our team but health above everything. 

 

I wish Rivera and his family good luck with going through this and hope for the best. 

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Prayers for Ron

 

Jesus, add another notch to the offseason from H. This is getting so ridiculous all you can do is laugh, but the bad news just keeps coming. Zombies funny bone cant take this kind of punishment.  

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He'll be the head coach no matter what.  He may delegate a lot of his decision-making, especially game-time, but he's going to be The Man to the Washington Football Team.  He's going to be the team's father figure and anyone who doesn't go all out for him, could find themselves kicked off the team (by certain players, reminding me of "Remember the Titans", a great movie).  The motivation goes both ways.  It suks, but Ron Rivera loves football, loves coaching, and while there may be some question as to Team's talent in some areas, all I've seen (aside from a couple of well-known exceptions), it's a really good group of guys teammate and person-wise.  They're not expected to do well, so they have room to grow under the radar, doing stuff that pays off later.

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1 hour ago, skinsfan_1215 said:

Now I’m not an oncologist but I do have access to google, and it’s telling me that SCC is a skin cancer. And that if it was found in a lymph node, that doesn’t really meet the qualifications for “early stage” cancer. Still likely treatable, sure, but potentially much more serious than the press release made it out to be. 

 

Stage III (stage 3 squamous cell carcinoma): The cancer has spread into facial bones or 1 nearby lymph node, but not to other organs.
 

https://www.cancercenter.com/cancer-types/skin-cancer/stages

Technically it is a stag 3 cancer when it extends into a lymph node.  However, it's a skin cancer as far as classification.  Wherever the cancer originates defines the cancer type.  Since the neck is where it originated, there's pretty superficial nodes just below.  So, when it gets into a lymph node the CA cells can then be distributed to other organs in the body via the lymphatic system. This is why they bump the classification up a level.  The classification doesn't necessarily amount to a stage 3.  It's a bit complicated because we don't have all the details.  One way to know it's stage 3 is if he does get chemo regimen. If they excise and then do radiation you would assume his systemic PET scan was negative, pointing at localized neck SCC with node extension as a stage 2. 

 

Where did they say he was going to get chemo treatment?  I didn't see that anywhere and you can't assume that.

3 hours ago, Burgundy Yoda said:

Can we realistically expect him to coach going through chemotherapy? I know he wants to, and I respect the hell out of him for it because he's a warrior, but it will be draining on his body.

Where did they say he was going to get chemo treatment?  I didn't see that anywhere and you can't assume that.

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I did find it weird that he was wearing  turtle neck in summer time. This explains it. He likely has already had it excised and will likely get radiation.  Usually about 6 weeks. If he does get prescribed chemo then this is a whole different story.  Chemo will destroy everything as it's designed to do. Remedies for chemo side effects are satisfactory at best.  He'll feel terrible and have no energy and won't be at his best.  Longer term, post cancer patients normally redefine life after going through treatments that involve chemo.  I'd assume he'd contemplate why he's still working. 

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Cancer is the worst.  Even when your chemo puts it in remission the cancer is always lurking and trying to mutate so it can come back.

 

Lost too many family and friends to cancer.

 

Good luck Ron and hope this isn't part of the teams curse that hovers above us now.

Edited by Ashburn Dave
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