FILE PHOTO: Aug 18, 2020; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera (M) talks to his team in a huddle on day twenty-one of training camp at Inova Sports Performance Center in Ashburn, Virginia. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
(Reuters) – 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 National Football League (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,” Washington said.
“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 team wishes Coach Rivera a speedy recovery and we will be supporting him every step of the way.”
Rivera, 58, said he was surprised by the diagnosis given he was in the pink 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.
Rivera was appointed Washington head coach in January following a nine-year stint with the Carolina Panthers.
His diagnosis comes during a tumultuous off-season for Washington, which last month said it would retire its Redskins name and logo which had been used since 1933 but had long been criticized as racist by Native American rights groups.
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill