Skip to main content

Former College Football Star Gabe Rivera Dies

A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet sitting on the field.

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 01: A detailed view of a Pittsburgh Steelers helmet before their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

A former college football star passed away after falling ill earlier this week. Gabriel Rivera passed away late Monday night after falling ill over the weekend, his wife confirmed.

Rivera was 57. A former Texas Tech star, Rivera was a first round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983, the year of the quarterback.

The 1983 draft saw six quarterbacks go in the first round, including John Elway, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino. Many in Pittsburgh questioned the Steelers' decision to pass on hometown kid Dan Marino and go for the Texas Tech pass rusher.

Rivera racked up two sacks through his first six games with the Steelers before a devastating car accident left him paralyzed and ended his NFL career.

Rivera was a standout nose tackle at Texas Tech. During his four seasons with the Red Raiders, he amassed 321 tackles, 34 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and 6 fumble recoveries.

He was voted to the All-American team in 1982 before entering the NFL. In 2012, Rivera was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.