Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera, who had cancer and made a full recovery, has been selected as the 2022 George Halas Award recipient by the Professional Football Writers of America.
The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed. The award is named for Halas, a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and the NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter.
Rivera, who has battled squamous cell carcinoma, is the fourth member of the Washington franchise to receive the honor from the PFWA and the second in as many years, joining Billy Kilmer (1976), Pat Fischer (1978) and Alex Smith (2021).
Other 2022 nominees were Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
Rivera, a finalist for the Halas Award for the second time in as many years, was diagnosed with cancer in his neck in August 2020. Over seven weeks during the 2020 season, he received 35 proton therapy treatments and three chemotherapy cycles. Rivera lost more than 30 pounds and had to receive IV treatments at halftime of games.
But he never missed a game while leading his team to the playoffs in his first year as head coach in Washington. Rivera made a full recovery, and he announced in January 2021 he was cancer-free.
The award dates to 1969, when Joe Namath won it. Such Pro Football Hall of Famers as Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Roger Staubach, Ted Hendricks, John Stallworth, Joe Montana, Dan Hampton, Dan Marino and Tony Dungy have been honored.