Austin police officer Jared Retkofsky, who stands 6’5” and weighs 270 lbs, currently wears a ring from Super Bowl XLIII that seems almost unnoticeable. A former Pittsburgh Steeler, he recalls the story of how he was able to earn a spot on the team that he not only competed on, but also won the big game on as well.
Retkofsky began playing football while in third grade in Wichita, Kansas. He played all the way through middle school before his family ultimately moved to Fort Worth when he was a freshman in high school. It was at that time where he says he didn’t care where he played football just as long as someone allowed him to do so.
He then earned a scholarship to Texas Christian University after declining full scholarships from several other Division II schools. Retkofsky graduated from TCU in 2007 and was considered to be the best long snapper in the entire country, which earned him a spot on the NFL’s Scouting Combine. He would go on to sign as a free agent in 2007 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, only to be released from the team at the start of camp. From there, he returned home and started looking for work, which he found with a moving company making $12 per hour working six days per week.
Retkofsky continued to work his normal job until he got another call from the Steelers inviting him to pre-season training camp. He went back and played in two pre-season games before he was unfortunately released again. He found another job carrying furniture while, at the same time, flying all over the country working out with different teams. The following year, he signed another futures contract with the Steelers and began training with them again. Unfortunately, he then found himself released for a third time prior to training camp starting.
Then, in October 2008, Retkofsky received a call stating that Greg Warren, the Steelers’ longtime snapper, had suffered a torn ACL during a Sunday game that would end his season. He was asked to compete against two other snappers to fill the post, and after a workout that Monday, he was told that they were going to sign him to the team. Retkofsky recalls being emotional when the contract was placed in front of him, as well as trying to figure out where to sign. His first official game with the Steelers was on Monday Night Football against the Washington Redskins.
He continued on as the snapper for the Steelers throughout the remainder of the 2008 season, eventually going on to compete in, and win, the Super Bowl. After the win, Retkofsky recalls being able to meet fans, sign autographs, and even meet the President of the United States.
He soon went back to training, but was then unfortunately injured as the result of a motorcycle crash. He broke his shoulder and ended up getting released from the Steelers for failing to maintain his top physical condition. Eventually, he decided he had had enough of football and decided to become a police officer with the Austin Police Department.
Today, Retkofsky says he really enjoys working the streets with his shift mates since it provides a team atmosphere that he likes. He says he’s also enjoyed training with the K9 unit over the past year, and that his ultimate goal is to make it to the K9 team.