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Gabriel Rivera
Date of birth: April 7, 1961 (1961-04-07) (age 48)
Place of birth: Crystal City, Texas
Career information
Position(s): Defensive tackle
College: Texas Tech
NFL Draft: 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21
 As player:
1983 Pittsburgh Steelers
Playing stats at

Gabriel Rivera (born 1961) is a former All American football defensive tackle. Rivera was the 21st selection of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rivera attended Texas Tech and was nicknamed "Señor Sack."

The selection of Rivera is notable because the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to pass on hometown boy and University of Pittsburgh quarterback Dan Marino as an heir apparent to Terry Bradshaw. The decision was made to rebuild from the defensive side as they did a decade earlier with "Mean Joe" Greene. Rivera was considered one the fastest defensive linemen coming out of college.

As the 1983 season progressed, Rivera slowly began to come on. But tragedy struck on October 20, 1983 when Rivera was paralyzed in drunk driving car wreck. The then-22 year old, was treated for head, neck, chest and abdominal injuries. The accident occurred at 9 PM in Ross Township, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh. At the time Gabriel was married to Kimberly Covington, they had a son Timothy Rivera 3 weeks after the accident on November 11, 1983.



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