Home Sports Ron Rivera needed IV at Washington’s halftime amid cancer battle

Ron Rivera needed IV at Washington’s halftime amid cancer battle

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Down 17-7 against the Philadelphia Eagles at halftime Sunday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera knew his team needed some motivation but had a much more pressing situation to tend to.

Rivera, team doctors and head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion agreed that the first-year Washington coach would get an IV after the first half to combat the ongoing effects of his battle with squamous cell cancer. And although he was hooked up to the IV, Rivera recalled how he told senior director of player development Malcolm Blacken to “get somebody to step up now” amid the struggles his team was having against the defending division champions.

“And there’s a high-pitched voice just going at it, going at it,” Rivera said, per Sports Illustrated. “And they told me it was Dwayne Haskins. He’d challenged the team.”

Haskins, the organization’s 15th-overall pick in 2019, took it upon himself to fire the team up after Rivera has been challenging him to emerge as a leader by example this season. The 23-year-old quarterback began to scratch the surface this preseason by losing weight, studying his playbook and coordinating workouts with young receivers during the coronavirus quarantine period. He evidently took the next step Sunday.

Ron Rivera
Ron RiveraAP

“It was kind of cool to see that he was the one that did it,” Rivera said. “Honestly, I couldn’t hear it. I just know it was pretty fiery and he was challenging everybody.”

Washington dominated the second half, shutting out Philadelphia over the final two quarters and rolling to a 27-17 upset. Haskins finished the season-opener completing 17-of-31 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown. But it appears he contributed way more than that behind the scenes.

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