CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Former Carolina Panthers head coach and current Washington head coach Ron Rivera has been diagnosed with cancer.
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Rivera told Schefter that he was diagnosed with lymph node cancer. Schefter followed up to specify that Rivera has Squamous cell cancer of his neck and was diagnosed with it two weeks ago.
WBTV reached out to Rivera and asked if there’s anything he wanted to share with our viewers.
“Tell everyone that with God’s grace, we got this,” Rivera said.
The Washington Football Team tweeted a statement Thursday, and coach Rivera retweeted it with a comment of appreciation.
“Stephanie, Christopher, Courtney and I thank you ALL for your love and support,” Rivera tweeted.
The 58-year-old NFL coach says the cancer is in the early stages and is considered “very treatable and curable,” according to Schefter.
Rivera has reportedly consulted with a number of doctors and specialists and is establishing a treatment plan with the team and an outside specialist. He plans to coach this season, but also has backup plans.
“Rivera wants to pass along his gratitude to team doctors, trainers and health-care specialists for helping him through treatments. He also wants to thank the Snyders, the entire Washington organization, his assistant coaches, players, fans, friends and family for love and support,” Schefter tweeted.
Ron Rivera told ESPN he was stunned by the news that he had lymph node cancer.
“I was stunned. But I was angry because I feel like I feel like I’m in best health I’ve been in,” Rivera said.
Schefter says Rivera told his team Thursday night that he had cancer.
“Some were stunned. A bunch came up and wished me well. I said, ‘I’m going to be a little more cranky, so don’t piss me off,” Rivera told ESPN.
Rivera was hired by Washington in Jan. 2020 after being fired by the Panthers. He was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons.
He was named the fourth head coach in Panthers history in 2011, and earned a 76-63-1 regular season record and a 3-4 postseason mark.
In nine seasons, Rivera guided the team to a Super Bowl appearance, an NFC Championship and three NFC South titles.
The Carolina Panthers official Twitter account tweeted support for coach Rivera Thursday night. Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson also tweeted his support.
“Praying for Coach Ron & the Rivera family...sending y’all love, know Ron gonna beat this,” Thompson tweeted.
Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey spoke about coach Rivera during a media availability Friday.
“When you think about Coach Rivera, the first thing I think about is toughness. He’s going to handle it like a champ and I know it. The whole Carolinas have his back,” McCaffrey said, according to Bill Voth, Assistant Director of digital media and broadcasting for the Panthers.