If Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera isn’t able to lead the organization at any point during the year due to his recent cancer diagnosis, he plans on having defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio take his place.
Rivera revealed that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer in his lymph nodes on Thursday after he had discovered a lump in his neck in July. He told ESPN that the cancer was “very treatable and curable,” but that he was “stunned” and “angry,” as he feels like he’s the healthiest he’s ever been.
Plan B: Jack Del Rio
Rivera, 58, said he plans to keep working during his cancer battle — and that his doctors had even encouraged him to do so.
He’s more than aware, however, that there will be times when he simply can’t coach.
“Plan B will be implemented on those days where I will struggle,” Rivera said Saturday, via the Washington Times. “Believe me, I’m not being rosy about this. I’m being honest. I know I’m going to struggle. Those days that I do, I’m going to have to ask the coaches to step up and have to ask the players to step up and take ownership.”
Del Rio has plenty of head coaching experience, and is an obvious choice to step in as the interim coach whenever Rivera can’t while undergoing treatment.
The 57-year-old led the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2011, and then spent three seasons with the Oakland Raiders from 2015-17. He’s stepped in as an interim coach before when he was the defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos — taking over for John Fox briefly in 2013 after he underwent heart surgery.
Though he’ll attempt to be on the sidelines as much as possible this fall, Rivera feels good having a solid backup plan in Del Rio.
“I have a great saying that I really do appreciate. It’s called ‘Don’t draw me a map unless you’ve been there,’ and Jack’s been there,” Rivera said, via the Times. “He’s been helpful, he really has … Now with this circumstance and situation we have, his value for us is even more so.”
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