Washington’s Rivera gets support in his cancer fight
Washington coach Ron Rivera was greeted by a group of friends and supporters — albeit their cardboard representations — at FedEx Field on Sunday before his team took the field against the Baltimore Ravens.
About 400 cardboard cutouts filled what was called the Coach’s Corner to show support for Rivera in his battle against squamous cell carcinoma. The faces greeting him included those of fellow NFL head coaches Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills and Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as some of his former players with the Carolina Panthers, such as Steve Smith Sr., Greg Olsen and Luke Kuechly.
Players and coaches also wore shirts that read “Rivera Strong” in pregame preparations.
“Someone once told me you don’t know about cancer until it touches you,” Rivera, 58, told ESPN before the game. “That’s when it touched my brother, Mickey. There’s nothing like it. When it touches you, it’s overwhelming. But then you see things like this and people that support you and the notes I got and the letters I got, the notes I got from friends. Tremendous.
“It shows that you’re not doing this by yourself, that there’s a whole bunch of people helping you do this.”
Mickey died in 2015 from pancreatic cancer.
Rivera’s brother, Mickey, died in 2015 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
Friends paid $49 for the cutouts, and that money — combined with other donations — will result in a contribution of about $30,000 from the Washington Football Team to the American Cancer Society in honor of Rivera.
The NFL typically highlights its “Crucial Catch” campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer and other cancers in October. The cutouts were dressed in T-shirts bearing the phrase.
And other teams were happy to share their support for Rivera on their social media accounts.
“We’re proud to be in your corner, @RiverboatRonHC,” the Bills tweeted.
–Field Level Media