Washington head coach Ron Rivera, who battled squamous cell carcinoma and made a full recovery, was selected as the 2022 George Halas Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Rivera, the 54th Halas Award winner, 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 for the Halas Award were Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby, Philadelphia Eagles tackle Lane Johnson and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. The award is named for Halas, a charter member (1963) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was associated with the Chicago Bears and NFL from their inception in 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, manager, player and promoter. Halas won 324 games and six NFL titles in 40 seasons as a coach.
The Halas Award is one of the two oldest awards presented by the PFWA, along with the Bill Nunn Jr. Award, presented to a reporter who has made a long and distinguished contribution to pro football through coverage.
Rivera, a finalist for the Halas Award for the second time in as many years, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma 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. Rivera made a full recovery, and he announced in January 2021 he was cancer free. In October 2021, the Washington Football Team wore a special helmet decal and made a $25,000 donation to the St. Jude Red Frog Events Proton Therapy Center in his honor after his one-year biopsy came back negative.