Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera gets pregame dose of support in cancer battle
Although there are no fans in the stands at Sunday's game between the Washington Football Team and the Baltimore Ravens, Washington coach Ron Rivera got an unexpected show of support when he arrived at the stadium.
After missing some practice time during the week due to his battle with skin cancer, Rivera was greeted by an entire section of FedEx Field filled with cardboard cutouts of Rivera's friends and family members.
As NFL Network reported, the tribute coincided with the NFL's partnership with the American Cancer Society at each team's home stadium.
"Someone once told me you don't know about cancer until it touches you," Rivera said told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio in a pregame interview. "That's when it touched my brother Mickey. There's nothing like it. When it touches you it's overwhelming. But then you see things like this and people that support you and the notes I got and the letters I got, the notes I got from friends. Tremendous."
"It shows that you're not doing this by yourself, that there's a whole bunch of people helping you do this."
Mickey, Rivera's brother, died in 2015 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Among the cutouts were a number of NFL personnel, fellow coaches, plus former players Greg Olsen, Luke Kuechly and Steve Smith Sr., whom Rivera coached with the Carolina Panthers.
The cutouts extended the length of the Coach's Corner section of the end zone.