Ron Rivera still plans to coach Sunday after missing practice time this week


Washington coach Ron Rivera hopes to return to practice Friday, and he plans to coach Sunday.

Rivera, who is undergoing cancer treatment for squamous cell carcinoma, missed Wednesday’s practice. He left Thursday’s practice near the end, but before it was over, because of the effects of chemotherapy.

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio took over Rivera’s head coaching duties.

“I’m prepared at any point to step in even in the middle of the game if it were to come up,” Del Rio said, via John Keim of ESPN. “We’ve got our procedures in place. It’s my understanding he would be ready to go [Sunday]. If not, we know what we’re going to do, and we’ll carry on.”

Washington has kept a “next-man-up” mentality, as it would if a player went down. Del Rio is the next man up, with Rivera having designated him as the fill-in head coach.

Rivera previously has missed practices.

Del Rio has had head coaching jobs with the Jaguars and Raiders and served in an interim role for Denver in 2013 when John Fox missed four weeks following heart surgery.

“He provided a good blueprint to work from,” Del Rio said of Rivera. “He’s dealing with something that’s a big challenge. Like everything he’s done in his life he’s facing it head-on and giving it everything he has. It’s a battle. He’s battling right now. He’s as tough as can be.”