Former University of Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver died in an apparent suicide on Tuesday evening. Oliver was 29 years old.
Details are few, but his death was confirmed by the Oliver family on Wednesday afternoon in a statement to the San Diego Tribune: We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. We request privacy in the wake of this tragic loss. The newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Kennesaw, Ga., native committed suicide.
Oliver played cornerback at Georgia from 2004 to 2006, and was best known by fans for his stellar performance against Georgia Tech in 2006. Tasked with covering Calvin Johnson, now considered one the best receivers in the NFL, Oliver held Johnson to just two catches for 13 yards and no touchdowns. Oliver also sealed the victory of the Dawgs with a late interception.
He was taken in the supplemental draft by the San Diego Chargers in 2007 and played sporadically from 2008 through 2011. Olivers highlight reel included four career interceptions and a 40-yard fumble return against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009.
The Chargers, a team that lost one its legends, linebacker Junior Seau, to suicide in 2012, also put out a statement that read: Everyone in the Chargers family is sad today after hearing the news about Paul. He was part of our family for five years. At just 29 years old, he still had a lifetime in front of him.Right now all of our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this most difficult time.
Georgia athletics officials plan to release an official statement late on Wednesday. In the meantime, head coach Mark Richt told reporters he was "crushed" by the news.
It's heartbreaking for me personally, for our staff, for the Bulldog Nation I'm sure, and obviously for his family, Richt said. I was crushed this morning when I heard it, quite frankly. I really haven't been able to keep it off my mind to be honest with you. Weve got to find a way to reach out and help in any way we can. If theres some way that the Bulldog Nation can rally around that family I hope everybody would be encouraged to do so.
Olivers former teammates also spoke out after learning the news.
Former Bulldog and current Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin tweeted, So sad to hear about my dawg Paul Oliver, while Olivers former Georgia teammate and Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson went to social media to offer prayers of support for the family.