Rivers, who was once Michael Vick’s backup on the Atlanta Falcons, is still on the road a lot, but now he is driving to meet clients about commercial property across the Southeast.
A vice president for Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial in Augusta, he is part of a three-man team developing properties or assisting companies that want to sell or buy commercial real estate.
Rivers started working for Blanchard & Calhoun in 2006, connecting through friends in Atlanta who were in commercial real estate, and moved from Georgia’s capital to Augusta.
As he learned the ropes during his first year with the company, Rivers experienced the good times in real estate before the Great Recession struck.
“We are able to be fluid and go for what the market is calling for. And that helped us a tremendous amount three, four years ago when the market took a dive,” Rivers said.
When developers pulled back and retail went into a holding pattern, agents shifted focus to distressed property.
“And now, things are picking up locally, regionally, nationally,” he said. “You can see that firsthand around here. We’ve had as much new retail in the last six to eight months as in the previous few years.”
Rivers, 37, arrived in Augusta as a teenager, relocating when his father got a job at E-Z-Go. He went to Lakeside High School and then to the University of Virginia in 1996. Frustrated with his football playing time at Virginia, he transferred to quarterback Western Carolina University, took some graduate classes, then went professional.
Rivers played professionally for five years in the U.S., Canada and Europe. In the NFL, he wore helmets for the Falcons, St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders.
“I tore my knee up in NFL Europe and was able to come back and be with Atlanta for part of the ’03 season,” he said. “Went back to Europe in ’04. I was with Berlin and won the World Bowl.”
While he was a backup quarterback for the Raiders, he married his college sweetheart, Casey, in 2004. Though there were opportunities to keep playing, he said they weren’t ones that looked good.
“I was excited about the next phase of my life. … We were starting a family. I always loved growing up in Augusta,” he said. “I always thought it was a great place to raise a family.”
They have three children now, two girls and a boy.
Sports is a good foundation, no matter where a person hopes to go, Rivers said.
He is sought out for his football advice by high school athletes, but most of his involvement in athletics these days is coaching his daughter’s soccer team. Civically, he is involved with the Exchange Club of Augusta.
Rivers said he misses football, but not necessarily the instability of that life.
“When you look back, you miss games and competing, the locker room and your teammates. What’s unique about this firm is that it has a lot of those components to it. It’s a real tight-knit group,” Rivers said.
At Blanchard & Calhoun, it is about teamwork, he said.
“It’s been an interesting road to get to where I am, but I’m enjoying it.”