Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera, who was diagnosed with cancer and has made a full recovery, has been selected by the Professional Football Writers of America to be the recipient of the 2022 George Halas Award.
The Halas Award is presented 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 battled squamous cell carcinoma, is the fourth member of the Washington franchise to receive the PFWA honor and the second in as many years, alongside Billy Kilmer (1976), Pat Fischer (1978) and Alex Smith (2021) . .
Other 2022 nominees included 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, who was a Halas Award finalist for the second time in as many years, was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 2020. In the 2020 season, he received 35 proton therapy treatments and three cycles of chemotherapy over seven weeks. Rivera lost more than 30 pounds and required IV treatment at halftime of games.
But he never missed a game as he led his team to the playoffs in his freshman year as head coach in Washington. Rivera made a full recovery and announced in January 2021 that he was cancer free.
The award dates back to 1969 when Joe Namath won it. Pro Football Hall of Famers such as Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Roger Staubach, Ted Hendricks, John Stallworth, Joe Montana, Dan Hampton, Dan Marino and Tony Dungy were honored.