Washington NFL head coach Ron Rivera was declared cancer-free Thursday in a hospital checkup after guiding his club into the playoffs this past season while undergoing treatments.
The 59-year-old coach was diagnosed with an early stage squamous cell carcinoma in a lymph node of his neck last August but battled through while coaching the team to a 7-9 record, a division title and a playoff berth, the club launching a “Rivera Strong” campaign.
Rivera underwent five chemotherapy and proton treatments a week for two months to combat the cancer, with former NFL head coach Jack Del Rio, Washington’s defensive coordinator, stepping in as needed to take charge.
At times, Rivera was so fatigued he needed intravenous therapy at halftime of games.
Washington was eliminated by Tampa Bay in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
Rivera went to a hospital for a status update Thursday and his family tweeted good news about his medical report.
“Thank you all for the love and prayers just got off the phone with mom and dad leaving the hospital @RiverboatRonHC is officially cancer free!!!” his daughter Courtney tweeted.
Wife Stephanie tweeted that “Prayers have been answered. Thx to all the Drs & nurses who “Coached up” @RiverboatRonHC and me and gave us the winning game plan to defeat cancer.”
Rivera, who played as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1984 to 1992 and won a Super Bowl in 1986, served as head coach of the Carolina Panthers from 2011-2019 before taking charge of Washington last year.
He became the first coach to guide two different clubs with losing records into the playoffs, having coached a 7-8-1 Carolina squad into the 2014 post-season.
Rivera’s deepest playoff run came with the Panthers in 2015 when Carolina went 15-1 before losing to Denver in Super Bowl 50 in 2016.
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