Rick Casares

Richard Jose Casares (July 4, 1931 – September 13, 2013) was an American college and professional football player who was a fullback in the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League (AFL) for twelve seasons during the 1950s and 1960s. Casares played college football for the University of Florida, where he was standout fullback and kicker. Casares played professionally for the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins of the NFL, and was a member of the expansion Miami Dolphins of the AFL.

Rick Casares
Black and white photo of Rick Casares in Florida Gators jersey and helmet (c. 1953).
Casares in 1953
No. 35
Personal information
Born:July 4, 1931
Tampa, Florida
Died:September 13, 2013 (aged 82)
Tampa, Florida
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:226 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:Thomas Jefferson
(Tampa, Florida)
NFL Draft:1954 / Round: 2 / Pick: 18
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:130
Rushing attempts:1,431
Rushing yards:5,797
Receiving yards:1,588
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Rick Casares was born in Tampa, Florida in 1931.[1] When he was 7 years old, his father was killed in a gang shooting; his mother sent him to live with an aunt and uncle in Paterson, New Jersey.[2] At 15, Casares became a Golden Gloves boxing champion in the 160-pound division.[2][3] When he was offered a professional boxing contract, his mother refused to permit it, and he returned to Tampa.[3]

From the age of 15, Casares lived in West Tampa with his mother, and he attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa,[4] where his teachers introduced him to high school sports as a way to keep him in school.[3] The Jefferson coaches discovered the 190-pound, six-foot-one-inch freshman when he picked up a javelin for the first time and threw it.[3] Casares played high school football, basketball, and baseball for the Jefferson Dragons, and he was also a track and field athlete.[2] He was an all-state football and basketball player, and the Dragons won the city football championship in 1948 and 1949.[3]

The Tampa Tribune recognized Casares as one the Tampa Bay area's 100 greatest athletes of the previous century in 1999.[3] In 2007, fifty-seven years after he graduated from high school, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized him as one of the thirty-three all-time greatest Florida high school football players of the last 100 years by naming him to its "All-Century Team."[5]

College career

After graduating from high school, Casares received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played fullback for coach Bob Woodruff's Florida Gators football team from 1951 to 1953.[6] Casares quickly became the star rusher of the Gators' backfield.[7] As a 210-pound, six-foot-two-inch sophomore in 1952, he scored the first touchdown of the Gators' first bowl game, a 14–13 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in the January 1, 1953 Gator Bowl,[7] and was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection and an honorable mention All-American.[6][8] In 1953, he was a team captain.[6] Woodruff ranked Casares as the Gators' best back and one of their three best kickers of the 1950s.[9]

Casares was also a member of coach John Mauer's Florida Gators basketball team, and led the team in scoring and rebounding with 14.9 points and 11.3 rebounds as a sophomore in 1951–52, and 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds as a junior in 1952–53.[10] In basketball, he was a third-team All-SEC selection in 1952; as basketball team captain in 1953, he received second-team All-SEC honors.

Casares' college career was cut short when he was drafted into the U.S. Army after his junior year.[5] He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great."[11] As part of an article series for The Gainesville Sun in 2006, he was recognized as No. 37 among the top 100 players of the first 100 years of Florida Gators football.[12]

Professional career

Casares was selected in the second round (eighteenth pick overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears,[13] but was offered a $20,000 annual contract with Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.[2] Instead, he accepted owner George Halas's $10,000 offer to become a member of the Chicago Bears,[2] and after fulfilling his military service obligations,[5] he played for the Bears from 1955 to 1964.[14] In the fourth game of the 1955 season, against the Baltimore Colts, he ran for an 81-yard touchdown.[2] He finished his rookie season with 672 yards in 12 games, and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.[2]

Casares led Chicago in rushing from 1955 through 1960. In 1956, Casares led the NFL in rushing with 235 carries for 1,126 yards.[15] At the time, this was the second most yards gained in a single season in the NFL, short of the NFL single-season record by only 20 yards.[2] Behind Casares' hard-nosed rushing, the Bears advanced to the 1956 NFL Championship Game. However, the Bears' championship game opponents, the New York Giants, completely stifled Casares and crushed the Bears, 47–7. He would, however, win an NFL Championship as a member of the 1963 squad.[16][17]

During the following 1957 season, Casares again led the NFL with 204 rushing attempts, but his 700 yards was later eclipsed by Jim Brown's 942 yards on two fewer carries.[18] After ten seasons with Chicago, Casares was the Bears' all-time leading rusher with 1,386 carries, 5,657 yards, and forty-nine rushing touchdowns.[14] His Chicago Bears career rushing records weren't broken until Walter Payton shattered them in the 1970s and 1980s, and he remains the fourth all-time rusher in franchise history, behind Payton (16,726 yards), Matt Forte (8,602) and Neal Anderson (6,166 yards),and ahead of Gale Sayers (4,956 yards).[19]

Casares finished his professional career with the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1965, and in 1966 with the AFL's Miami Dolphins, receiving only limited carries in his final two seasons.[14]

In 2015, the Professional Football Researchers Association named Casares to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2015 [20]

Life after football

Casares retired to his hometown of Tampa, Florida following his professional football career and some business projects in Chicago. His last career venture was in the residential home improvement field, specializing in room additions. He died on September 13, 2013 after a string of illnesses, including heart disease and shoulder problems stemming from his days in football.[21][22] As a U.S. Army veteran, Casares was buried in the Sarasota National Cemetery.[23]

See also


  1. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Rick Casares. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Paul Guzzo, "Tampa's NFL Hero: Rick Casares," Cigar City Magazine, pp. 22–23, 25–27 (January–February 2011). Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Rozell A. Lee, "Tampa Bay's All-Century Team: No. 12 Rick Casares Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine," Tampa Tribune (December 21, 1999). Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  4. ^ databaseFootball.com, Players, Rick Casares Archived August 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "FHSAA announces 33-member All-Century football team," Florida High School Athletic Association (December 12, 2007). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 96, 123, 140, 163, 180 (2011). Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Jack Hairston, Tales from the Gator Swamp, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois, pp. 95–101 (2002).
  8. ^ F. T. MacFeely, "Gainesville Eleven Given Edge Over Meilinger-Power 'Cats," St. Petersburg Times, p. 14 (December 6, 1952). Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Tom McEwen, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama, pp. 210–211 (1974).
  10. ^ Mike Douchant, Encyclopedia of College Basketball, Gale Research, New York, New York, p. 391 (1995).
  11. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  12. ^ Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 37 Rick Casares," The Gainesville Sun (July 28, 2006). Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1954 National Football League Draft. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
  14. ^ a b c National Football League, Historical Players, Rick Casares. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  15. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com, 1956 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  16. ^ The Football Database, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears 1963 Roster. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  17. ^ The Football Database, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears 1963 Schedule & Results. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  18. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com, 1957 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  19. ^ Pro-Football-Reference.com, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Rushing Career Register. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  20. ^ "Professional Researchers Association Hall of Very Good Class of 2015". Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  21. ^ Joey Johnston, "Former Jefferson High, NFL star Rick Casares dies," The Tampa Tribune (September 14, 2013). Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  22. ^ William Yardley, "Rick Casares, 82, a Bear Who Got Yards With Grit, Dies," The New York Times (September 17, 2013). Retrieved June 29, 2014.
  23. ^ Findagrave.com, Rick Casares. Retrieved October 7, 2014.


  • Carlson, Norm, University of Florida Football Vault: The History of the Florida Gators, Whitman Publishing, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia (2007). ISBN 0-7948-2298-3.
  • Douchant, Mike, Encyclopedia of College Basketball, Gale Research, New York, New York (1995). ISBN 0-8103-9640-8.
  • Golenbock, Peter, Go Gators! An Oral History of Florida's Pursuit of Gridiron Glory, Legends Publishing, LLC, St. Petersburg, Florida (2002). ISBN 0-9650782-1-3.
  • Hairston, Jack, Tales from the Gator Swamp: A Collection of the Greatest Gator Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois (2002). ISBN 1-58261-514-4.
  • McCarthy, Kevin M., Fightin' Gators: A History of University of Florida Football, Arcadia Publishing, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (2000). ISBN 978-0-7385-0559-6.
  • McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama (1974). ISBN 0-87397-025-X.
  • Nash, Noel, ed., The Gainesville Sun Presents The Greatest Moments in Florida Gators Football, Sports Publishing, Inc., Champaign, Illinois (1998). ISBN 1-57167-196-X.
1952 All-SEC football team

The 1952 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1952 college football season. Georgia Tech won the conference.

1952 Florida Gators football team

The 1952 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1952 college football season. The season was Bob Woodruff's third and most successful as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. Woodruff's 1952 Florida Gators finished with an overall record of 8–3 and a Southeastern Conference (SEC) record of 3–3, placing sixth among twelve SEC teams.

1953 Florida Gators football team

The 1953 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1953 college football season. The season was the fourth for Bob Woodruff as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. The 1953 season was a year of rebuilding and backsliding after the graduation of All-American Charlie LaPradd and the loss of fullback Rick Casares to the U.S. Army. The highlight of the season was the Gators' second consecutive victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, but the Gators began a pattern of agonizingly close losses to the Rice Owls (16–20), Auburn Tigers (7–16), Tennessee Volunteers (7–9) and Miami Hurricanes (10–14), as well as two ties with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (0–0) and LSU Tigers (21–21). Woodruff's 1953 Florida Gators finished with a 3–5–2 overall record and a 1–3–2 record in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), placing ninth of twelve SEC teams.

1953 Gator Bowl

The 1953 Gator Bowl was a post-season college football bowl game between the Tulsa Golden Hurricane of the Missouri Valley Conference and the Florida Gators representing the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Florida defeated Tulsa 14–13. This was the Gators' first appearance in a NCAA-sanctioned bowl game

1957 All-Pro Team

The Associated Press (AP), Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), New York Daily News (NYDN), The Sporting News (SN), and United Press (UP) were among selectors of All-Pro teams comprising players adjudged to be the best at each position in the National Football League (NFL) during the 1957 NFL season. The AP, NEA, NYDN, and UPI selected a first and second team.

1958 Chicago Bears season

The 1958 Chicago Bears season was their 39th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted an 8–4 record under the regins of George Halas who took over for Paddy Driscoll, who was fired after a championship game debacle and a subpar season the following year. Halas's team improved to a respectable second place tie.

1959 Chicago Bears season

The 1959 Chicago Bears season was their 40th regular season completed in the National Football League. The club posted yet another 8–4 record under the coaching of George Halas.

Bob Woodruff (American football)

George Robert Woodruff (March 14, 1916 – November 1, 2001) was an American college football player, coach, and sports administrator. Woodruff was a native of Georgia and an alumnus of the University of Tennessee, where he played college football. He was best known as the head coach of the Baylor University and University of Florida football teams, and later, as the athletic director at the University of Tennessee.

Casares (surname)

Casares is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914–1999), Argentine fiction writer

Ana Casares (died 2007), Polish-American actress

Carlos Casares (disambiguation), multiple people

María Casares (1922–1996), French actress

Rick Casares (1931–2013), American footballer

Wenceslao Casares, American businessman

Chicago Bears statistics

This page details statistics about the Chicago Bears American football team.

Don Gaffney

Donald G. Gaffney (born February 1, 1954) is an American former college football player and politician. Gaffney was the first African-American to play quarterback for the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida, and was later elected to the Florida House of Representatives, until he resigned following his conviction for extortion.

Feleipe Franks

Feleipe Franks (born December 22, 1997) is an American football quarterback for the Florida Gators.

Goof Bowyer

Ernest J. "Goof" Bowyer (October 2, 1903 – May 19, 1988) was a college football player and coach.

Joe D'Agostino

Joseph F. "Joe-joe" D'Agostino, Jr. was a college football player. A two-way offensive and defensive guard for the Florida Gators, D'Agostino was an honorable mention All-American and twice received first-team All-SEC honors. He was a key member of the 1952 team's line which blocked for the renowned backfield which included the likes of Rick Casares, Papa Hall, and Buford Long. He was drafted into the NFL by the Baltimore Colts, but never played due to injury.

John Brantley

John Brantley, IV (born March 3, 1989) is a former American football quarterback. He played college football at Florida from 2008 to 2011. He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens after going undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft but was released before the start of the season.

Brantley has family connections to the University of Florida. His father, John Brantley, III, also played quarterback there in the late 1970s and his uncle, Scot Brantley, played linebacker for the Gators and went on to the NFL.

Larry Rentz

Ralph Lawrence Rentz (born August 1, 1947) is a former American football defensive back who played one season with the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League (AFL). He was drafted by the Chargers in the 17th round of the 1969 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Florida and attended Coral Gables Senior High School in Coral Gables, Florida.

Papa Hall

J. Lewis "Papa" Hall, Jr. (April 2, 1931 – September 15, 2010) was a college football player and track athlete; later an attorney and circuit court judge. Hall was a prominent running back for the Florida Gators of the University of Florida, “recruited by every major Southern college.” Papa Hall and fellow backs Buford Long and Rick Casares were part of the Gators' winning backfield during the team's 8–3 season in 1952. Hall was its leading rusher. Hall was also an NCAA national champion high jumper in track and field. After college, he decided against a professional football career. Hall ran for ninety-four yards in the team's 14–13 Gator Bowl victory on New Year's Day 1953.

Thomas Jefferson High School (Tampa, Florida)

Thomas Jefferson High School is a public high school located in the heart of the Westshore Business District of Tampa, Florida, United States. It is an Area 1 school under the Hillsborough County Public School system.

Wally Brown (American football)

Wallace Brown was a college football player for coach Dutch Stanley's Florida Gators in 1933 and 1934. He was second-team All-SEC in 1934.

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