Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera missed practice on Wednesday and had to leave practice early on Thursday due to rough side effects related to chemotherapy and his battle with cancer, according to ESPN.
Despite the battles, however, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said that Rivera plans to coach normally on Sunday when they host the Baltimore Ravens.
“I’m prepared at any point to step in, even in the middle of the game if it were to come up,” Del Rio said Thursday, via ESPN. “We’ve got our procedures in place. It’s my understanding he would be ready to go [Sunday]. If not, we know what we’re going to do and we’ll carry on.”
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Rivera announced in August that he has squamous cell cancer in his lymph nodes, something doctors diagnosed him with after they discovered a lump in his neck in July. Though he said he was stunned by the news, he called it “very treatable and curable.”
The 57-year-old vowed to keep coaching through his treatment, though he’s had to take extra precautions. He even needed an IV during halftime of their season-opener last month — something he said they did “just to be safe.”
Still, Rivera knows there are going to be times this season — like on Wednesday and Thursday — that he simply can’t coach. Doing so while undergoing chemotherapy isn’t always possible.
So when that happens, Rivera will call on Del Rio.
“He provided a good blueprint to work from,” Del Rio said, . “He’s dealing with something that’s a big challenge. Like everything he’s done in his life, he’s facing it head-on and giving it everything he has. It’s a battle. He’s battling right now. He’s as tough as can be.”
Rivera, according to Del Rio, hopes to be at practice Friday. He watched tape of both Wednesday’s practice and what he missed on Thursday, too, and is more than ready to go as long as he’s healthy enough to do so.
That, Del Rio said, is by far the most important part.
“I’ve encouraged him to take care of himself and to understand we will carry on and make him proud,” Del Rio said. “First and foremost I’d like to see him take care of himself. We will support him every way we can. That’s the way we’re approaching it.”
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