ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A former Lobo long shot, who was a walk-on for UNM, will soon walk onto the practice field of an NFL team.
You can call him a long shot that was determined to make it.
Gregory Rivara, former Lobo kicker, wasn’t even recruited to play for UNM, but now he’s getting ready to prove he’s ready for the pros.
“It was a bit surreal,” Rivara said. “It took a few minutes for it to set in.”
Rivara said he got a call from the Miami Dolphins special teams coach last week.
“He asked me how my weekend was, and asked me if I was ready to go and I said yes, sir,” Rivara said. “He said well we’re extending an invite to rookie mini-camp to you. I’ve thought about that for 10 years.”
It’s been a long journey for the 2008 Saint Pius grad.
He started his kicking career at Highlands University. Then in 2010 he called the Lobos asking for a chance to be on the team. He was a walk-on with no scholarship meaning he had to pay for his first year to be a Lobo.
He would soon find out it came with little playing time.
“My first year I didn’t get to play at all. I was mostly on the sidelines for every game. I wasn’t able to suit up. I wore a jersey,” Rivara said. “The second year the same thing I wore a jersey.”
That was until new Head Coach Bob Davie gave him a shot.
“He came up to me and said Greg you might have the opportunity to start this game,” Rivara said.
At the end of Rivara’s senior year he was ranked top 10 in the nation for touchbacks. But that still wasn’t enough for an NFL team to pick him up after participating in the pro-day at UNM.
So for nearly two years he has been working on his own with a kicking coach.
The call from the Dolphins could prove his hard work has paid off. Until he leaves for camp Thursday, he said you can find him on the field twice a day.
“I have to do what ever I have to do so when I get to that camp I’m ready to go,” Rivara said.