|Date of birth:July 4, 1931|
|Place of birth: Tampa, Florida|
|High school: Thomas Jefferson High School
|College: University of Florida|
|NFL Draft: 1954 / Round: 2 / Pick: 18|
|Debuted in 1955 for the Chicago Bears|
|Last played in 1966 for the Miami Dolphins|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1966
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
|Stats at DatabaseFootball.com|
Richard Jose Casares (born July 4, 1931) is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL) for twelve seasons in the 1950s and 1960s. Casares played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins of the NFL and the Miami Dolphins of the AFL.
Rick Casares was born in Tampa, Florida in 1931. When he was 7 years old, his father was killed in a gang-style murder; his mother sent him to live with an aunt and uncle in New Jersey. At 15, Casares became a Golden Gloves boxing champion. When he was offered a professional boxing contract, his mother refused to permit it, and he returned to Tampa.
Casares attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa, where his teachers introduced him to high school sports as a way to keep him in school. 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. Casares played high school football, basketball, and baseball for the Jefferson Dragons, and he was also a track and field athlete . He was an all-state football and basketball player, and the Dragons won the city football championship in 1948 and 1949.
The Tampa Tribune recognized Casares as one the Tampa Bay area's 100 greatest athletes of the previous century in 1999. 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."
After graduating from high school, Casares received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and he played fullback for coach Bob Woodruff's Florida Gators football team from 1951 to 1953. Casares quickly became the star rusher of the Gators' backfield. 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, and was a second-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection and an honorable mention All-American. In 1953, he was a team captain. Woodruff ranked Casares as the Gators' best running back and one of their three best kickers of the 1950s.
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. 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. He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great." 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.
Casares was selected in the second round (eighteenth pick overall) of the 1954 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, and, after fulfilling his military service obligations, he played for the Bears from 1955 to 1964. Casares led Chicago in rushing from 1955 through 1960. In 1956, Casares led the NFL in rushing with 235 carries for 1,126 yards. At the time, this was the second most yards gained in a single season in the NFL. 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.
During the following 1957 season, Casares again led the NFL with 204 rushing attempts, but his 700 yards was eclipsed by Jim Brown's 942 yards on two fewer carries. 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. His Chicago Bears rushing records weren't broken until Walter Payton shattered them in the 1980s, and he remains the third all-time rusher in franchise history, immediately behind Payton (16,726 yards) and Neal Anderson (6,166 yards), and immediately ahead of Gayle Sayers (4,956 yards).
- Florida Gators
- Florida Gators football, 1950–59
- History of the Chicago Bears
- List of American Football League players
- List of Chicago Bears players
- List of Florida Gators football players
- List of Miami Dolphins players
- List of Washington Redskins players
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, Players, Rick Casares. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- Rozell A. Lee, "Tampa Bay's All-Century Team: No. 12 Rick Casares," Tampa Tribune (December 21, 1999). Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- databaseFootball.com, Players, Rick Casares. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
- "FHSAA announces 33-member All-Century football team," Florida High School Athletic Association (December 12, 2007). Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 96, 123, 140, 163, 180 (2011). Retrieved August 28, 2011.
- Jack Hairston, Tales from the Gator Swamp, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois, pp. 95–101 (2002).
- F. T. MacFeely, "Gainesville Eleven Given Edge Over Meilinger-Power 'Cats," St. Petersburg Times, p. 14 (December 6, 1952). Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- Tom McEwen, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama, pp. 210–211 (1974).
- Mike Douchant, Encyclopedia of College Basketball, Gale Research, New York, New York, p. 391 (1995).
- F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved June 2, 1010.
- Robbie Andreu & Pat Dooley, "No. 37 Rick Casares," The Gainesville Sun (July 28, 2006). Retrieved March 30, 2013.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1954 National Football League Draft. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- National Football League, Historical Players, Rick Casares. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, 1956 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, 1957 NFL Leaders and Leaderboards. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com, Chicago Bears, Chicago Bears Rushing Career Register. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
- 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.