Following the season, he underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. It was Rivera's second back surgery since joining the Cowboys in March of 2005.
Rivera joined Dallas on March 3, 2005 through free agency as the Cowboys added a proven veteran with a strong leadership presence to help solidify the right side of the Dallas offensive line. Shortly after joining the Cowboys, Rivera underwent surgery to repair a lumbar disc herniation in his lower back. While he returned to the field in time for training camp, Rivera struggled through the first part of the season to regain his strength. He entered the 2006 season healthy – starting all 16 games before he re-injured his back in the playoff game at Seattle.
One of Brett Favre's most valued pass blockers from 1998-2004, Rivera earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl trip after the 2004 season.
He came to Dallas having started 99 consecutive games (106 including playoffs), a streak that began on Dec. 13, 1998, but came to an end at 113 consecutive starts – the eighth longest active start streak in the NFL - as he missed the final two contests of 2005 after suffering a strained neck in the closing minutes of the game at Washington (12/18). Low sack figures and solid rushing numbers defined Rivera's tenure as the leader on the Packers line. Most recently, the Packers allowed just 14 sacks in 2004 - a club record figure that broke the team's previous low mark of 19 sacks in 2003. Rivera's hard working attitude and leadership is credited for much of that success.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native made the Green Bay roster as an unheralded sixth-round draft pick in 1996. He then worked his way into the starting lineup through two years as a backup and a season with the (then) World League's Scottish Claymores. With a strong performance in training camp in 1998, Rivera was able to hold off teammate Joe Andruzzi's challenge and claim the starting spot. In 2004, he became only the second Green Bay player to start seven consecutive seasons (1998-2004) at offensive guard in the last 45 years, joining Jerry Kramer (nine, 1958-66) as the only individuals to start at the position for seven straight years. He has now played in 155 career regular-season games, with 141 starts.
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