The Washington Football Team is in the midst of its first season under head coach Ron Rivera, but he is also facing a battle of his own. Rivera was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer last August, and missed the team’s practice last Wednesday and left practice early the following day because of the effects of chemotherapy.

Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio took over the coaching duties in his absence at practices and team meetings.  The 58-year old coach returned to the team’s practice on Friday and will be at the sidelines when Washington battles the Baltimore Ravens in their Week 4 game, and is expected to get an IV before the game or at halftime.

But even if no fans are allowed to attend Washington’s game at FedEx Field, the team decided to surprise Rivera in a unique way to show him how many people support him. 

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Ron Rivera, who coached the Carolina Panthers before joining the Football Team in the offseason, was touched by the gesture and said that his battle with cancer made him realize the importance of his friends and the state of the country’s medical system:

“But when you see things like this and the people that support you and the notes that I got from people I consider friends, it’s tremendous,” Rivera told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. “It just really shows that you’re not doing this by yourself. There’s a whole bunch of people helping you do this. And I also think that is speaks to the value of proper medical for our country. I really do. Going through the things I’m going through, seeing what these things cost, I just hope everybody’s protected and covered. I really do.”

Washington will look to bounce back from consecutive losses to the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns when they face the Ravens.