Tim Wright unveils barbershop on Livingston Campus
Tim Wright was a busy man during his time at Rutgers.
Recruited out of Wall High School to play football 45 minutes up the road for New Jersey's state university, Wright hauled in 50 catches for 596 yards and 4 touchdowns during his final two seasons on the Banks.
And when the former standout wide receiver wasn't cutting in and out of his routes for the Rutgers football team, he was cutting hair — a lot of it.
Wright, who picked up the passion for cutting hair as a teenager, used to have a line of people out of his dorm room waiting for him to cut their hair and would sometimes even go on house calls. By the time he was a senior, he had his own barber chair in the Scarlet Knights' locker room, where he would not only cut players but team employees and coaches — and their children — as well.
From the time he stepped on campus in 2008 through the end of his time in Piscataway in 2013, Wright had cut hair for more than 300 different heads.
But as the Neptune, New Jersey, native was set to move on from Rutgers to whichever city his football career would take him in the NFL, he wanted to leave his barber career and legacy behind him at his alma mater.
Over three years since his departure that legacy finally came to fruition Saturday as Wright cut the ribbon on his new Rutgers barbershop, "The Wright Cut", located in the Livingston Plaza in Piscataway.
The Wright Cut will officially open its doors for customers on Sept. 13.
"It's awesome to come back. Literally, I dedicated five years of service to this University, carrying all of my clippers in my bag, making house calls (and) cutting in the locker room," Wright said. "It's just a true miracle and a blessing to be able to come back and actually put it in place (and) give it a home (in) The Wright Cut, and I'm grateful for it."
In front of friends and family, Wright unveiled the inside of his barbershop for the first time. It's highlighted by four Rutgers-themed red and black barber chairs lined up on each side of the shop, two shampoo stations against the far wall and a double-sided black couch intended for waiting customers down the middle of the room.
"I literally had my sights on this (location) since these buildings came up," Wright said. "It came up about early January. It became available, and I jumped right on it. I made the calls, I made the connection through these great people at Rutgers and it came true."
Once everyone in attendance got a chance to check out Wright's new digs, the former Super Bowl champion christened his new barbershop by giving out the first ever haircut there to his father.
There was never a debate as to whose hair would hit the floor first at The Wright Cut, as Wright's father was the one who brought clippers into the household 13 years prior after Tim had a bad experience with a barber.
As a 13-year-old, Tim — who already had a passion for drawing — stumbled upon those clippers in his room and taught himself how to cut his own hair. Once he had done that, he moved onto a different head of hair — his father's.
That first client quickly grew into kids in Tim's community getting their hair cut in his kitchen during middle school. Wright's barber skills became more popular as he went through high school and when he arrived at Rutgers is really when The Wright Cut took off.
"Thirteen years ago (my father) was my first client so it was only right that I cut his hair for the first time on opening day," Wright said.
Undrafted out of college in 2013, Wright reunited with his former coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, by signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent.
In Tampa Bay, Wright was moved from wide receiver to the tight end position and made the Bucs' 53-man roster out of training camp. He went on to appear in all 16 games during his rookie season, catching 54 balls for 571 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Wright began to bounce around the league following his rookie season as he was dealt to the New England Patriots. The former Rutgers product caught 6 touchdowns and was apart of the Super Bowl XLIX-winning Patriots squad but was waived during the subsequent offseason.
He was claimed by the Buccaneers before being dealt to the Detroit Lions in the weeks leading up to the 2015 season.
As a free agent for the first time in his career this past offseason, Wright re-upped with the Lions for one more year, but he suffered a season-ending ACL injury just over two weeks after signing his contract. He will spend the 2016 NFL season on Detroit's Injured Reserve list and, to this point, has nothing guaranteed for him beyond that.
But no matter where his football career takes him next, Tim Wright takes solace in the fact that he now has a permanent home at Rutgers that he can always come back to.
"I definitely want to make appearances," Wright said on how often he intends to be present at The Wright Cut. "It's a home now. I'm able to come back to it anytime I want, and that's the luxury of it. And I'm so happy and grateful for it."