The Untold Truth Of Football Star Mychal Rivera, Naya Rivera's Brother

UPDATE: On July 13, 2020, the Ventura County Sheriff's Office confirmed Naya Rivera's body has been recovered at Lake Piru. In a press conference, Sheriff Bill Ayub said, "We are confident the body we found is that of Naya Rivera." 

The original story follows below.

Actress Naya Rivera may have become a famous face (and voice) thanks to her musical role as Santana Lopez on Glee, but her family includes another member who has also performed in the public eye in a very different way: Her brother, professional football player Mychal Rivera.

Mychal Rashawn Rivera was born in Los Angeles, Calif. on September 8, 1990, making him three years younger than Naya. Attending Birmingham High School as a teen, his team nabbed the fourth-place spot in the state's rankings during his senior year, in part, because of Mychal's playing. That's likely why he was a "3-star recruit coming out of high school" and "was the No. 39 overall tight end," noted (via Bleacher Report).

The ambitious athlete then went on to play for the University of Tennessee, however, Bleacher Report points out that he "was often overshadowed by other receivers." Apparently, while he "wasn't in the same talent class as Justin Hunter or Cordarrelle Patterson, he still showed the ability to be a consistent threat on offense during his three seasons for the Volunteers." By the end of his school days, he "finished his career with 76 receptions, 1,018 yards, and six touchdowns."

In fact, his "athleticism and pass-catching ability" was the kind of thing "that teams currently love out of tight ends these days." That's surely why he was noticed by the NFL.

Mychal Rivera played for two NFL teams

If you're not really into sing-along television shows like Glee and are more interested in football — or if you happen to be into both — then you might be aware of the fact that Mychal Rivera spent a few years running the field in the NFL.

Although Mychal's "overall showing at the combine wasn't overly impressive", according to Bleacher Report, his performance "in his position drills" was still good enough to spark a few teams' interest. Others in the industry were also impressed by Mychal, with sports writer Wes Rucker sharing on Twitter in February 2013 that it's "[h]ard not to like" the tight-end.

When the selections were done and the deals were signed, Mychal was picked up by the Oakland Raiders as a sixth-round draft pick out of the University of Tennessee in 2013. Four years later, he committed to a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars to the tune of about $6.75 million, per Bleacher Report, but by March 2018, the tight end had become a free agent, per CBS Sports.

Whatever Mychal's future in football (or otherwise) holds, it's clear that his sister, Naya Rivera, has always been proud of him.

Naya Rivera clearly adored her brother, Mychal

Naya Rivera went missing at a lake in Southern California while out on a boat with her son in July 2020. However, in the years before her disappearance, she made it perfectly clear how she felt about her brother, Mychal Rivera. Naya called him "the coolest, best brother in the world!" on social media and celebrated his birthdays with her followers. And then there's the way she reacted (see below) when he scored his first touchdown for the Raiders — she could not have been more excited.

Mychal said he's felt the love from his family from the start. "They've always supported me throughout my whole career. Throughout my ups and downs, they've always been there," he told in 2013. "Naya [Rivera's older sister] has shown me a lot as far as her going on interviews and them saying, 'No,' and just bouncing right back up and continuing to be persistent and following your dreams."

That's something that they both did despite the fact that they had different dreams.

Naya and Mychal Rivera were on their 'own paths'

Naya Rivera and her brother, Mychal Rivera, may not have been pursuing the same thing, but they both had the same kind of passion for what they were pursuing. "First of all, I think it's really cool that we each have our, like, sort of specialty and, you know, things that we're good at," Naya said while talking to Tennessee Athletics about her brother in September 2012.

Naya also discussed how she supports Mychal's career, saying, "I just encourage him, you know, and he appreciates the support ... when I watch the games." The proud older sister also explained that she was "getting better about, like, memorizing what he's doing, like, how many yards and catches and stuff."

And the support was definitely mutual with Naya revealing, "He watches [her show, Glee] and then he'll call and just be like, 'That was really dope!'" As for Mychal, he noted that his "path is sports, hers is acting," explaining, "You know, we stay on our own paths, you know, we just have fun doing what we're doing." While they may have been on different paths, we're certain the bond these siblings share will never be broken.

At the time of this writing, Mychal has not spoken publicly about his sister's disappearance.

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