Former Ohio State and NFL offensive tackle Shane Olivea passed away on March 2nd at the age of 40, according to several of his Buckeye teammates.
His cause of death is currently unknown at this time.
rest easy, shane 💙
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) March 3, 2022
— Diane Green (@MomFourFreedom) March 5, 2022
Shane Olivea, Former San Diego Charger and Ohio State Lineman, Dead at 40 https://t.co/OLr3bgehh8
— People (@people) March 3, 2022
Olivea was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes, earning All-Big Ten honors two seasons and helping the university capture a national championship against Miami (Fla.) in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
The 6-foot-5 and 310-pound offensive lineman came to Columbus from Cedarhurst (N.Y.), where he was a two-time all-state selection and honorable mention USA Today All-American.
Olivea was a seventh-round pick (No. 209 overall) of the then-San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft.
— RodneyBailey (@Hacksaw94) March 3, 2022
Very sad to hear the news of my former teammate Shane Olivea. Praying for his family today. pic.twitter.com/k5oixYgSpc
— Roman Oben (@R_Oben) March 3, 2022
RIP Shane Olivea, former Lawrence (Cedarhurst, NY) High School legend who went on to play for Ohio State and the Chargers. Amazing talent who once admitted popping 150 Vicodins a day due to football injuries. https://t.co/vyJUuwVU36
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 4, 2022
Former Ohio State offensive tackle Shane Olivea passed away this morning at the age of 40. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and helped the Buckeyes capture the 2002 national championship: https://t.co/NLWT43QS6A
— Andrew Lind (@AndrewMLind) March 3, 2022
Sports Illustrated reported:
Olivea started 57 games for the franchise over the next four seasons.
Olivea asked the Chargers for his release in 2008 in order to deal with his addiction to painkillers, on which he spent almost $584,000, and checked into a treatment center that spring. He spent 89 days in the facility in order to get clean and then signed with the New York Giants.
After injuring his back in training camp, Olivea was placed on injured reserve and later released by the Giants. He then played for the Florida Tuskers and Virginia Destoryers of the short-lived United Football League, but was unable to make it back to the NFL.
Olivea reenrolled in classes at Ohio State in 2015 in order to finish his degree in sport industry. He graduated in December 2016 after completing 11 courses and hoped to become a coach.
“I feel I have an ability to connect with kids,” Olivea told The Columbus Dispatch. “I’m young at heart. Being around young people keeps you young. I feel there’s such a need to teach some of these kids how to properly play and teach technique.”
In 2006, prior to Olivea’s removal from the team, he was rewarded with a 6-year $20 million extension, which made him the sixth highest-paid right tackle in the NFL at the time.
After his football career, Olivea became vocal about overcoming his addiction to painkillers. During his rehab time at Betty Ford Center, doctors had told him the number of pills he took should have killed him.
“There wasn’t one day in the NFL I wasn’t high on a pill after my rookie year,” Olivea told The Columbus Dispatch in 2016.
“At my height on Vicodin, I would take 125 a day,” he added. “It got to the point I would take a pile of 15 Vicodin and would have to take them with chocolate milk. If I did it with water or Gatorade, I’d throw it up.”