Austin Cartwright Tulsa World
After his final release as an NFL punter in 1978, Rick Engles found himself standing in line for the unemployed in his hometown of Tulsa.
A Sporting News All-American at the University of Tulsa and a third-round NFL Draft pick in 1976 out of Seattle, Engles changed his mind as soon as he hit the line. As he turned and started driving home, Engles noticed construction workers working in the apartment building and he decided to try his hand.
“Do you guys need any help?” Engles remembered asking the random workers.
“Do you know how to frame it?” one of the workers asked Engles. “No, but you can learn,” replied Engles.
Luckily for Engles, another company he applied to offered him a job over the phone that night, so he didn’t have to learn how to frame. After his work at a local plumbing company ignited a career that led to multiple stops, including sales to Machinery, he founded and sold Resources, allowing him to retire at the age of 54.
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“I always thought that I could do anything that other people could do, given the opportunity,” said Engles. “I always felt that I needed to work for something. I didn’t want to be given anything.”
Today, Engles owns and rents commercial real estate and has recently moved into real estate. But he still manages to play golf at least three or four times a week.
A Central High School alumnus, Engles has lived in Tulsa since he was born and raised there. He had no trouble staying in the city and attending college in his hometown.
“I really believe it helped my business,” Engles said of joining TU. “In terms of name recognition. Partnering with the University of Tulsa was the best decision of my life.”
Engles still regularly gets together with his best friends and middle school teammates. He keeps in touch with his Golden Hurricane legend, Steve his Largent, who is a pro in his Football Hall of Fame.
“I tell everyone, ‘He’s in the Hall of Fame,'” Engles said. “Well, I was in the Hall of Shame.”
Jokes aside, Engels played three professional seasons in Seattle and was a post-college teammate with the Largent, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Philadelphia Eagles.
“Looking back on it now, I’m like, ‘Was that a big deal?’ .”
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