Longtime Panthers head coach diagnosed with cancer


Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers reacts against the New Orleans Saints during the third quarter in the game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on November 24, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Washington Football Team’s first-year head coach Ron Rivera has been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer but plans to continue coaching, the NFL franchise said on Thursday.

Washington said in a statement the cancer was at an early stage and “very treatable.”

“Coach Rivera has consulted with leading doctors and oncology specialists and is establishing his treatment plan in conjunction with the team’s medical staff,” the Washington Football Team said in a statement.

Rivera spent nine years with the Carolina Panthers and was appointed to the newly-named Washington Football Team in January, NewsNation affiliate FOX 46 Charlotte reported.

Known in the Charlotte community as “Riverboat Ron,” he’s been known for his work with the local humane society.

A Carolina Panthers fan holds p a sign thanking former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera during their game against the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium on December 15, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The team wishes Coach Rivera a speedy recovery and we will be supporting him every step of the way.

The washington football team said in a statement

“For now, the coach asks that the team keep things business as usual and remain focused but a plan B is in place if it is determined that he should take some time off,” the Washington Football Team said in a statement.

Rivera, 58, said he was surprised by the diagnosis given he was in the peak of health.

“I was stunned. But I was also angry because I feel like I’m in the best health I’ve been in,” he told ESPN.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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