Ron Rivera's Coaching Career Comes Full Circle Sunday

Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera faces off against Carolina for the first time.
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Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera will face off against his former team for the first time since he was relieved of his duties late last season. Rivera has his team at 6-8 which is good enough for first place in the NFC East division. 

The Football Team welcomes the Carolina Panthers (4-10) to town this weekend. Rivera was unable to lead the Panthers to the playoffs in his last two seasons in Carolina but he now has the opportunity to make it in his first year with Washington. This game means a lot for Washington's postseason hopes so it is poetic justice that it comes against the team that Rivera was let go from a year ago. 

2020 has been a tough year all the way around and it has been especially difficult for Rivera. He was diagnosed with cancer prior to the start of the season. Despite that, Rivera hasn't missed a single game this season. Even though he is no longer a part of the Carolina franchise he has embodied the team's mantra. Coach Rivera had this to say about the famous Sam Mills quote:

"Sammy Mills (III, the son of Sam Mills), who's my D-line coach here, would tell me, 'Coach, Keep Pounding.' So it did resonate, it really did. I think it's a hell of a saying, I really do. I think it's a great mantra."

The "Keep Pounding" mantra goes well beyond the football field. It signifies the ability to put your head down and focus on what you can do to get better regardless of what life throws at you. Even if life throws cancer or a global pandemic your way. It is a saying we can all take to heart. Sometimes the only thing we can do to get through something is to keep going through it–to keep pounding. Being a head coach, Rivera is no stranger to giving motivational speeches. When news first broke about his diagnosis, former players returned the favor.

"Yep, it's funny because some of the former players I had, they would use that, and that was cool," Rivera said. "Some of them would use the sayings I used with them, about the attitude, preparation, and effort, and someone would tell me, 'Coach, it starts with your attitude today, Keep Pounding.'

It's safe to say that Washington has followed their coach's lead and have kept pounding all season long. The team has had three different starting quarterbacks this year but still find themselves in the playoff mix. Can Rivera and his team complete the circle and secure a playoff spot by beating his former team? Tune in this Sunday to find out. 

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