LAKE FOREST – The coaching fraternity in the National Football League is a very tight-knit one, with most everyone knowing each other from coast-to-coast.
That’s why when something is wrong with one, it tends to draw the support of others around the league.
That’s been the case for former Bears player and coach Ron Rivera who received some bad news this week.
Washington announced on Thursday that their new head coach had been diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which was found in a lymph node during a check-up. It’s expected that he’ll make a full recovery and will continue treatment while coaching during the 2020 season.
Encouragement has come from all around the football world since the news was released, even from Rivera’s former team the Carolina Panthers.
Naturally, the Bears had their own well wishes for the coach, and it came from head coach Matt Nagy.
He started his news conference after training camp practice on Friday to send his well wishes to Rivera as he begins his cancer treatments.
“I want to start off by letting Coach Ron Rivera and the rest of his family understand that he’s in our thoughts and prayers along with his family,” said Nagy. “We’re all here in Chicago thinking about him, we wish him the best, and we’re in his corner.”
Rivera played his entire NFL career in Chicago as the linebacker took the field for the Bears from 1984-1992. He was a part of the famed “46” defense that helped the team to their only Super Bowl victory in the 1985 season.
A few years after retirement, Rivera started his coaching career with the Bears as a defensive quality control assistant in 1997. After leaving in 1999 to coach the Eagles’ linebackers for five seasons, he returned to Chicago to be the defensive coordinator for the Bears under new head coach Lovie Smith.
He’s stay for three seasons, helping the team to the 2006 NFC Championship before leaving for the Chargers where he’d spend the next four seasons. Rivera was then hired for his first head coaching job in 2011 with the Panthers and took that team to their second Super Bowl in franchise history in February of 2016.
Following his firing in the middle of the 2019 season, Rivera was hired by Washington on New Year’s Day of 2020.