Marco Rivera: Eleven years in league took toll on former Packers guard

23 Dec 2001: Marco Rivera
23 Dec 2001: Marco Rivera /
9 Dec 2001: Ted Washington
9 Dec 2001: Ted Washington /

Marco Rivera played 11 years in the National Football League, with nine of those years in Packers News with the Green Bay Packers

That’s not bad for an offensive lineman who was selected in the sixth round (208th overall) of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Packers.

The Packers Hall-of-Famer is our focus today as we continue our numbers countdown here at Lombardi Ave.

The 6-4, 310-pound offensive lineman out of Penn State was a quick and athletic offensive lineman, who like so many of the players who bang bodies for the greater part of a decade in the NFL, suffered physically and emotionally after he retired.

More from Lombardi Ave

Rivera, according to a piece written last year by Rob Demovsky of ESPN, fell into a self-medicating period in his life after he retired, but has since recovered from his addictions and is dealing with his pain in other ways.

Not only was the pounding on his body detrimental to all the tendons and muscles that were stretched and tested, but Marco Rivera is also wary of what playing in the NFL will mean down the road.

"“I know I’ve had a lot of concussions. For crissakes, I was a pulling guard in the NFL, 310 pounds, running as fast as I could and slamming into another 310-pounder. You’re going to get concussions. Does it scare me? Yeah, it scares me. I’m 43. I don’t want to lose my marbles yet. So I kind of challenge myself. [And] I’m very vocal with my wife. ‘If you see things changing, we’ve got to log this all down, we’ve got to get this early.’”"

While Rivera is dealing with the physical and emotional aspects of being a former NFL player, he was also one of the best over a long stretch of time for the Packers. He left Green Bay and signed with Dallas in 2005, but not before he had put in nine solid seasons in Green Bay.

Despite the injuries that mounted throughout his career, Marco Rivera played in 155 of the 160 games in which he was eligible to play.

GREEN BAY, WI – OCTOBER 3: Guard Marco Rivera
GREEN BAY, WI – OCTOBER 3: Guard Marco Rivera /

No doubt he was viewed as one of the toughest guards in the entire league, playing along a line that pass protected for Brett Favre and run blocked for the likes of Ahman Green and other backs in Green Bay at the time.

In his interview with Demovsky, Rivera talked about his time in the NFL:

"“I have a lot of old friends who played in the NFL, and there’s something we all have in common: Sooner or later, your playing days, they come to a screeching halt. And usually, you don’t get to really choose how you get to pick how you leave the game.”"

Though Rivera has a Super Bowl ring that was earned with the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots, he was inactive as a rookie for that entire season. It wasn’t until the 1997 season that Rivera began his career in earnest.

Before his playing days were over, Marco Rivera was a Super Bowl champion, had earned his way onto three Pro Bowl teams and was a three-time All Pro.

Like so many linemen who batter their bodies for years in the league, Rivera is paying the price in retirement.

As a player, he was one of the best to have worn #62 in Green Bay.

Marco Rivera’s career statistics, per

8 yrGNB1251112
2 yrDAL30301

Next: Packers roster breakdown: Outside linebackers

All Green Bay Packers players who have worn #62 since 1950:

Dick Afflis19521952
Lionel Aldridge196319638
Norm Amundsen19571957
Buddy Aydelette198019801
Matt Brock1989199331
Buddy Brown19531956
Junius Coston200620075
Andy Cvercko196019604
Evan Dietrich-Smith2009201319
Dennis Havig197719772
Kani Kauahi198819881
Jim Laughlin198319831
Bill Lueck1968197433
Pat Matson197519753
Guy McIntyre199419946
Joe McLaughlin197919792
Ruben Mendoza198619860
Mark Merrill198219821
Jim Meyer198719870
Lucas Patrick20172017
Marco Rivera1997200472

Our countdown, from the beginning: