‘I was stunned’: Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera diagnosed with cancer

‘I was stunned’: Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera diagnosed with cancer

WASHINGTON — Washington Football coach Ron Rivera has a form of skin cancer, which the team called “very treatable and curable” because it was discovered at an early stage.

“I was stunned,” Rivera told ESPN. “But I was angry because I feel like, I feel like, I’m in the best health I’ve been in.”

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A team spokesman confirmed Thursday night that Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. The team said Rivera detected it in a lymph node from a self-care check and that the prognosis is good for him to make a full recovery.

Rivera, 58, is expected to continue coaching for now after consulting with doctors and oncology specialists.

“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,” the team said in a statement. “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.”

Rivera retweeted the statement saying he and his family members “thank you ALL for your love and support.”

“I’m going through the proper treatment,” he said. “This will be fine.”

ESPN first reported Rivera’s diagnosis, saying it was lymph node cancer, and later clarified it was squamous cell carcinoma in his neck. ESPN reported Rivera got the diagnosis two weeks ago and told his team Thursday.

On Friday, Channel 9 spoke with Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey, who said that when he thinks about Rivera, the first thing that comes to mind is toughness.

“I think your true character is shown in times of adversity,” McCaffrey said. “Not just him but Stephanie and his whole family are going to handle this extremely well. We all have his back.”

New Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told Channel 9, “I have the utmost respect for coach. He’s been nothing but kind to me since I took this job.”

Rivera was hired as Washington’s coach and put in charge of football operations in January. He is the first minority coach in franchise history.

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