Paul Oliver, a former defensive back for the University of Georgia and the San Diego Chargers was found dead Tuesday (Sept. 24) evening after an apparent self-inflicted gunshot inside a Marietta home. Oliver was 29, leaving behind a wife and two children.
The news left his high school coach and a number of his former Chargers teammates in shock. Oliver was a standout football player at Harrison High in Kennesaw, Ga. He was met with some struggles while at the University of Georgia although he eventually triumphed according to an in-depth report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I’m just, I mean I was just crushed this morning when I heard it, quite frankly,” said UGA coach Mark Richt. “I really haven’t been able to keep it off my mind.”
Richt’s words were backed up by Oliver’s high school coach, who gave Oliver praise for his play on the field. “He’s the best player who ever played here,” Harrison coach Bruce Cobleigh said. “He was very hard-working and motivated and wanted to play football beyond college. That was his dream and he got to do that.”
USA TODAY spoke with a couple of Oliver’s Charger teammates, who both expressed similar sentiments of wishing they could have helped the player through whatever troubles he was facing.
“He was a good friend of mine. Great guy. Great guy,” said Quentin Jammer. Jammer, now with the Denver Broncos, played with Oliver in San Diego. “I mean, the early reports were that he committed suicide, and he just didn’t seem like that type of guy. You never know what somebody is going through, what’s going on in somebody’s life.”
Chargers free safety Eric Weddle added, “Football was the last thing I was thinking about out there today. It’s unfortunate. You feel for his family and his two kids. Wish I would have reached out to him more and helped him in some way.”
Funeral arrangements for Oliver have not yet been announced as of yesterday.