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Mike Rivera: Looking to the Future

By Rachel Terrill, Player Engagement Insider

Mike Rivera: Linebacker. Tight End. Undrafted Free Agent. Four years. Five Teams. Seven Contracts. Chicago Bears. Tennessee Titans. Green Bay Packers. Miami Dolphins. New England Patriots. Dolphins again. Patriots again. Super Bowl XLVI.

Mike Rivera played several positions in the NFL and made the most of his time in the league. Not only did this NFL journeyman work hard on the football field, what he accomplished off the field is just as impressive.

Rivera began his master’s degree in Athletic Administration during his senior year of college at the University of Kansas (KU) and finished while in the NFL.

“I knew that at some point I wanted to finish my master’s degree because education has always been very important to me as well as my family. The highlights of my NFL career included learning from some of the best coaches at the highest level and building lasting relationships with other players,” Rivera. He also appreciated the opportunity to travel to different NFL cities with his teams. “I enjoyed getting to try local food and learning about the different communities.”

Learning is something that is highly valued in the Rivera family. As a child, Rivera dreamed of being a teacher like his dad. During his first NFL off-seasons, Rivera worked as a substitute teacher.

“I loved being around the youth and learning from them,” he said.

While in the NFL, Rivera utilized the NFL Tuition Reimbursement Program to go back to school to finish his degree at KU. Despite his hectic NFL schedule, Rivera was able to complete the program via online classes that offered flexible work hours. During the off-season, Rivera also completed an internship in KU’s Athletic Department.

Rivera knew that NFL careers do not last forever. “With my experience playing in the NFL, I quickly learned that you never know when your career may come to an end and I wanted to make sure that I had a plan outside of football. The key for me was finishing my master’s degree to help me in a future career search. While I was playing I wanted to use that time to build up my resume and gain as much experience as I could.”

Today Rivera works in the commercial real estate industry at a full-service brokerage company specializing in tenant representation, investment acquisition, and development consulting. “The most satisfying part of my job is assisting business owners and individuals to make smart real estate decisions. The goal is to be in a situation that will lead to the success and growth of their business and wealth for the future.”

No doubt his time in the NFL made a difference in Mike Rivera’s life today. “I use all the transferable skills I learned in the NFL in my day to day work. Perseverance, toughness, hard work.”

Looking toward the future, Rivera seeks to continue to learn and grow in the commercial real estate market of Kansas City. He’d like to acquire additional property and continue to assist businesses in their real estate decisions.

Mike Rivera: NFL Legend. Master’s Degree. Heart for Education. Real Estate Businessman. Looking to the future. Success.


Dubbed “Dr. Love” for her work on relationships, Rachel Terrill is passionate about making marriages work. With insider-research that spans over twelve years, Rachel is among the leading experts on the relationships and marriages of professional athletes. Rachel holds a PhD in Communication from The University of South Florida. She teaches at Purdue University and Northwest University. She also serves as a family advisor for the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University. Rachel’s work has been featured in Sports Illustrated (, The Seattle Times,, and other television, radio, online, and print publications. Rachel is married to Craig Terrill, who played defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks from 2004-2011. You can reach her at



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