Ron Rivera sometimes wonders “what if” Cam Newton stayed healthy in Carolina

Carolina Panthers v Cleveland Browns
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In life, there’s often an element of “What if?”

Even as Washington has a chance to clinch the NFC East on Sunday, the Football Team’s head coach Ron Rivera admitted his mind occasionally wanders that path when thinking about his former employer.

Washington plays Carolina this week, which prompted reporters to ask Rivera if he ever thought about how things might’ve turned out differently if quarterback Cam Newton had stayed healthy.

“I do. I honestly do,” Rivera said, via Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer. “He’s the kind of guy that when he was healthy and things were rolling, man, the momentum would build.

“In 2016, when [Newton] got hurt, we got a little bit back in 2017. We had an early start in 2018, but then the injuries just took a toll. And so I always wonder, just what would have happened? But that’s the nature of this game. You’ve got to be able to move on and unfortunately that’s where we are in terms of that. … I’m fortunate I landed on my feet in Washington. And I kind of like our opportunity to grow a football team here, and I like what they’re doing in Carolina.”

Rivera said earlier this week he wouldn’t let “getting revenge” on the Panthers be a storyline heading into this game. But Rivera could hardly be blamed if it turns out clinching a division title against his former employer makes it feel just a little bit sweeter.