JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - While most kids grow up dreaming of playing professional football, Eric Rivera grew up dreaming of being a play maker with a good pair of clippers.
Rivera, owner of Precision Barber Shop, also spent time wondering who cuts the gridiron superstars hair. Now, he’s the one cuts hair for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I was nervous a little bit, you know, because growing up my father and I use to watch football and I wondered who cuts their hair,” Rivera said. “Here I am started cutting the Jaguars. I remember when I first time I went up there.”
“Eric the barber, my initial impression, was the guy is a pretty boy,” says Jaguars Director of Player Development Marcus Pollard. “He doesn’t know how to be dirty and get grimy, but I was totally wrong.”
Pollard played in the NFL for 14 seasons and knows the pressures of needing a good hair cut. He was responsible for the selection of Rivera as one of the team’s barbers.
“Some guys are very meticulous of how their hair looks. For me, if I feel good getting up out of the chair and there isn’t any bad spots it is a good haircut,” Pollard said. “I think first and foremost they have to understand this is a business and have to treat it that way such as being on time. And making sure they are not just fans because I’d hate to put our guys in situations where they are being asked for autographs and asking what is the latest. They need to just come in and do their job, cut their hair and go home.”
As for Rivera, he is living a life-long dream; a dream that led to a partnership with the team’s quarterback.
“You have to be super precise," he said. "You are dealing with guys that are looking for the best of the best.”
Rivera said Blake Bortles provided financial assistance to open his own shop.
“I told him if he could help me out I’ll take it and ride with it and maybe down the road we can work together,” Rivera said.“Free hair cuts for Blake Bortles for life.”