Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 59 Days with Ron Rivera

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears / RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
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Slowly but surely we are approaching football's anticipated return, and for those crossing off dates on their wall calendars, today marks exactly 59 days until the Chicago Bears play host to the Green Bay Packers during the first week of the NFL season. To celebrate the approaching season, Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff brings us to the best player in franchise history to don the number 59, linebacker and future head coach Ron Rivera.

Ron Rivera's path from California to the Chicago Bears

A native of Fort Ord, California, Ron Rivera attended Seaside High School, where he participated in the school's football, basketball, and baseball teams. After finishing his high school career as a standout at the linebacker position, Rivera accepted a scholarship offer from the in-state University of California, Berkeley.

At California, Rivera became a three-year starter and was an instant high-impact player from his first season, where he notably recorded 17 tackles again the Georgia Bulldogs led by Herschel Walker. In college, Rivera led his team in tackles twice, was named an All-American and team MVP as a senior, and earned a Co-MVP nod as a sophomore. Rivera also set several records, including tackles for loss in a season (26.5) and career (47.5), the latter of which still stands today.

After a dominant three-year stretch as a starter at Cal, Rivera entered into the 1984 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 44th overall pick during the second round. Interestingly enough, Rivera wasn't even the first linebacker the team took in the draft, with Wilbur Marshall also being selected in the first round.