Garza with the Chicago Bears in 2008
|Position:||Center / Guard|
|Born:||March 26, 1979|
Rio Hondo, Texas
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||310 lb (141 kg)|
|High school:||Rio Hondo (TX)|
|NFL Draft:||2001 / Round: 4 / Pick: 99|
|Career NFL statistics|
Roberto Garza (born March 26, 1979) is a former American football center. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth round (99th overall) of the 2001 NFL Draft, and in 2005, joined the Chicago Bears, spending ten seasons with the team.
High school years
The son of Roberto Garza Sr., and Ofelia Garza from Mexico, Garza was encouraged to join the Marines after high school. A Marine recruiter interested in Garza ridiculed his desire to play professional football, allegedly stating that, "Mexicans do not play in the NFL". Roberto was not discouraged, and worked toward his goal by being encouraged by his younger cousin Payton Garza. He ended up playing for the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelinas as a "walk-on". In addition to playing football, Roberto worked to pay for school. Garza's hometown of Rio Hondo, Texas established December 2 as "Roberto Garza, Jr. Day", and subsequently named a street after him. He is fluent in Spanish.
He was originally selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 99th overall pick of 2001 NFL Draft from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Garza played with the Falcons up until the 2004 season when his contract was up. He signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears in 2005, and he signed a six-year contract extension in 2006. In that season, the Bears reached a 39–14 victory over the New Orleans Saints, which allowed them to claim the NFC Championship and advance to Super Bowl XLI. However, they fell short of the championship, losing 29–17 to the Indianapolis Colts. Among the almost 1,700 National Football League players in the 2006 season, Garza was one of only 19 Hispanics. Garza became a free agent after the 2013 season, but was resigned to a 1-year contract on February 27, 2014.
On April 2, 2015, Garza was released by the Bears, ending a ten-year tenure.
In the media
Garza is a supporter and member of the United Way, a group of charitable organizations dedicated to helping less fortunate children and elderly. In 2006, Garza was named the Chicago Bears' nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. He has previously worked with the Empty Stocking Fund, the Atlanta Falcons' Feed The Homeless Campaign, and the Hall County Boys & Girls Club. He also supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago.
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