In addition, the Washington Football Team created a three-minute video featuring individual comments from several players on the team. The tribute video to Rivera was played this Friday morning after a team meeting. The video contained highlights from Rivera ringing the bell at the hospital after his last cancer treatment.
Ron Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in 2020. He endured roughly seven weeks of treatment throughout the season, while never missing a game. Not to mention, he sat out only three practices. This team had tons of motivation going into the 2020 season. Between Ron Rivera battling and fighting through cancer and quarterback Alex Smith making a comeback, this team was brought together naturally. Many throughout the organization looked to these men as inspiration and motivation. Ultimately, helping them go on a 5-2 stretch to win the NFC East last season.
We are all still #RiveraStrong
The team surprised Coach with this video and donation in today's team meeting after Coach’s one-year biopsy this week came back negative 🙏 pic.twitter.com/at349DV9Ca
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) October 1, 2021
Ron Rivera’s Strength and His Value to the Team
The video left Rivera very emotional and when the video concluded he was almost at a loss for words. He lowered his head and was barely able to form words from being choked up. “Wow,” Rivera mouthed after the video. The players followed that up by gathering money from each position group. They were able to raise more than $25,000 for proton therapy research and treatment.
“As a coach, you always wonder if you can get the chance to get through to the players and touch them,” Rivera said. “This was awesome. Thank you, guys.”
While Rivera has beaten cancer, he presses on. He says that he’s still fighting the after-effects of what his body had to go through during the treatments. Rivera still gets fatigued and has excessive tiredness. He remains strong and continues to show great resilience.
“When you see what he went through last year, it really showed the strength of Coach,” Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. “That’s something everybody can gravitate towards … when you don’t want to do things the right way, or you’re having one of those days. … You look at what Coach Rivera went through and it speaks for itself what kind of man he is and what kind of coach he is.”