RICHMOND — Ron Rivera is free from cancer, but the Washington coach is still very much battling the side effects from his months-long treatment.
At practice Friday, the Washington Football Team’s grounds crew periodically checked on Rivera — handing him new bottles of water and gauging to see if he was OK.
The day before, Rivera missed the team’s night walkthrough to rest from fatigue. And speaking to reporters Friday, he acknowledged that he’s not yet 100%.
“Quite honestly, [Thursday] was a tough day for me in the afternoon,” Rivera said Friday. “This is one of those times where going straight through really kind of wore on me yesterday. … It’s about [building] back that endurance.
“You hadn’t really had to do it because for the most part with OTAs and mini-camps, it was half the day and then I had a big break.”
For training camp, Washington holds a two-hour practice that typically lasts from 10 a.m. to around noon. The heat over the last few days has been intense — even possibly contributing to tempers rising as the week has gone on. During Friday’s session, tight end Temarrick Hemingway got into a confrontation with defensive end Montez Sweat and Hemingway had to be pulled off to the sideline. Then on the next play, linebacker Cole Holcomb punched tight end Sammis Reyes — leading to Reyes being restrained from escalating the situation further.
Rivera had to warn his players to cool down.
“He frowned on the fighting part,” guard Brandon Scherff said, almost disappointed.
Washington’s day doesn’t end with practice. In the afternoon, Rivera reviews that day’s film and bounces from meeting to meeting. He does that until the evening, when Washington holds a walkthrough from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Rivera said he needs to be better about finding when to take a break during the day.
Last year, Rivera found time to rest when necessary. He would nap consistently, even before games. He would have his daughter drive him to practice and then home, leaving the facility at night much earlier than his usual hours. Typically, Rivera heads to bed around 10 p.m.
The schedule allowed Rivera to not miss a game last year. That often inspired players, with them noting that if Rivera could coach while having cancer, they had no excuse not to do their jobs.
Friday was the second time Rivera was asked about his health by reporters during training camp. He was previously asked how he was feeling when the team arrived in Richmond Tuesday.
“I feel really good, I’m very comfortable,” Rivera said.