The San Diego Chargers organization was rocked in May 2012 when legendary linebacker Junior Seau took his own life. Sadly, history has repeated itself. Ex-Charger defensive back Paul Oliver committed suicide at the age of 29. The Chargers confirmed Oliver’s passing and issued the following statement: “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.”
Oliver’s family also issued a statement, “We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers,” the family said. “We request privacy in the wake of this tragic loss.”
The Chargers used a fourth-round pick in the 2007 supplemental draft to take Oliver, a Georgia product. Oliver made his debut for the Chargers in 2008, then played 57 games over the next four seasons. His most productive season came in 2010, when he started eight games at safety. He finished the year with 44 tackles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Oliver briefly joined the Saints during the 2011 offseason, then was released with an injury settlement. He re-signed in San Diego a short time later. Oliver had not played in the NFL since the end of the 2011 season and was a free agent.
Paul Oliver died from a self-inflicted gunshot in Marietta, Ga., on Tuesday night, authorities said, leaving his former teammates and coaches stunned and wondering what had happened to the 29-year-old. Oliver was a teammate of Quentin Jammer, now with the Denver Broncos said “he was a good friend of mine. Great guy. Great guy. 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.” Jammer recalled Oliver as a talented player whom the Chargers converted to safety after Oliver arrived in San Diego in 2007.
Oliver killed himself with a handgun at about 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, said Mike Bowman, public information officer for the Cobb County Police Department, though Bowman said Wednesday he did not know the location of the wound.
Chargers free safety Eric Weddle, another of Oliver’s close friends on the team, said he was “devastated.” “I thought about it all practice,” he said. ”Words can’t really express how as an ex-teammate — I was with him for five years — you have so many memories and so many thoughts. Football was the last thing I was thinking about out there today. It’s unfortunate. You feel for his family and his two kids.” Weddle said he talked to Oliver about a year ago. ”Wish I would have reached out to him more and helped him in some way,” he said.
When a loved one commits suicide, overwhelming emotions can leave you reeling. Your grief might be heart wrenching. At the same time, you might be consumed by guilt — wondering if you could have done something to prevent your loved one’s death. As you face life after this tragic suicide, remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Understanding the complicated legacy of suicide and how to cope with palpable grief can help you reach inner peace and healing, while still honoring the memory of your loved one. Let us honor the life of Paul Oliver and celebrate what he left behind.
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