With his former quarterback now healthy, the Washington Redskins head coach believes Newton is again ready to take the NFL by storm.
"He's headed in the right direction," Rivera said Monday on 670 The Score. "I mean, he's probably about as healthy as it gets from what I've seen on video. I think he's ready to bust out.
"I would never bet against the young man, that's for sure."
Newton's injury struggles dominated his and Rivera's final two campaigns with the Carolina Panthers. The 2015 NFL MVP played through a shoulder injury in 2018 and missed 14 games last season to a foot issue. With their franchise player hampered, the Panthers went 12-20 over the last two years.
While some are writing off Newton's chances of returning to top form due to his inability to stay healthy, Rivera believes the misunderstood star signal-caller is ready to prove his doubters wrong.
"Don't bet against him," Rivera said. "I really wouldn't. First of all, you got to know who he is and understand what all he's gone through. He's a guy that's always tried to do things, I think, because he's felt the pressure. He felt the pressure of being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of having won the Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 overall pick. He felt the pressure of being a Black quarterback, with all the stuff that's been heaped on him.
"He's really had to find his way through it, and he's done a great job with it."
While Newton reportedly hasn't been guaranteed the starting job after signing a one-year deal worth up to $7.5 million, he's widely expected to beat out sophomore Jarrett Stidham and journeyman Brian Hoyer if healthy.
Newton only missed three games in his first six seasons despite being among the most sacked quarterbacks in the league.