Heart break struck the Los Angeles Chargers this week as the team reported the passing of former Offensive Lineman Shane Olivea at the age of 40.
Olivea, a standout at Ohio State—earning All-Big Ten Honors twice and being a part of the 2002 Nation Championship team—was drafted by the then San Diego Chargers with the 254th pick in the 2004 draft.
Most remember the 2004 draft for the Eli Manning - Philip Rivers swap, but that draft also included Igor Olshansky, Nate Kaeding, Nick Hardwick, Shaun Philips, Michael Turner, and Shane Olivea.
Olivea started 31 of his first 32 games and earned a 6-year extension worth $20 million dollars in 2006. He would show his worth that following season. Olivea was part of an outstanding offensive line that included Nick Hardwick, Mike Goff, Kris Dielman and Marcus McNiell. In 2006, Olivea helped Hall of Fame RB LaDainian Tomlinson to an historic year full of NFL records, including the single-season touchdown record of 31. Tomlinson would be named NFL MVP that same year.
Olivea would play 2 more years with the Chargers, starting 57-of-60 games in 4 years with the team, before being cut.
Olivea became addicted to pain killers. In an article for Sports Illustrated, Olivea opened up to his addiction and talked about how he was high every day after his rookie year and he was taking as many as 15 Vicodin a day. In the article, he says he probably spent $584,000 on vicodin.
In 2008 Olivea went to rehab. There, the doctors said he was lucky to still be alive. While in rehab, he signed with the New York Giants. He would hurt his back and as a result, was cut from the team.
Olivea went back to Ohio State and finished his degree. He wanted to became a football coach to help prevent the sort of drug addiction that he had suffered.
On March 3rd, Olivea's former college teammate Bobby Carpenter announced in a tweet that Olivea had died. The cause of death has not been released as of this writing.
Twitter reacts to the passing of Shane Olivea