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Washington HC Ron Rivera diagnosed with squamous cell cancer

The Washington Football Team will be rallying around its head coach in 2020.

Ron Rivera has been diagnosed with squamous cell cancer, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports, per a Washington Football Team spokesman.

ESPN first reported the news.

Rivera, 58, will continue coaching this season, per Garafolo. In a statement released by the team, Rivera's cancer is in an early stage and is considered very treatable and curable, which provides a good prognosis for the coach. The team also announced a "Plan B" is in place if it is determined that Rivera should take some time off.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport detailed Friday that the "Plan B" involves defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio assuming head coaching duties if necessary. Del Rio has 12 years of experience leading a team and has a 93-94 career record (1-3 in playoffs).

Squamous cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer that develops in the squamous cells that make up the middle and outer layers of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it is not considered life-threatening, the cancer can be aggressive.

Washington hired Rivera in late December after an eight-and-a-half-season tenure with the Carolina Panthers. Rivera led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 and was twice recognized as the AP NFL Coach of the Year during his time in Carolina.

Rivera has been involved in the NFL for over 35 years. A second-round draft pick out of the University of California, Berkeley, Rivera played nine years in the NFL as a linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1984-92, which included a win in Super Bowl XX. Rivera's coaching career would also be jump-started in Chicago when he became the Bears' defensive coordinator in 2004.

Rivera's principled character and leadership presence has been felt for so many years in the NFL, and Thursday's news is followed by support from around the league.

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