Paul Oliver: Latest in a String of NFL Suicides - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Paul Oliver: Latest in a String of NFL Suicides

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy CNN/NFL/Getty Images Courtesy CNN/NFL/Getty Images

(CNN) -- Paul Oliver, a former defensive back for the University of Georgia and the San Diego Chargers, was found dead this week, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot.

His death marks the latest in a string of suicides among former professional football players.

"Everyone in the Chargers family is sad today after hearing the news about Paul," a statement from the NFL team said. "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."

He leaves behind a wife and two children, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers," the family said in a statement to The San Diego Union-Tribune. "We request privacy in the wake of this tragic loss."

Mark Richt, coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, called it "a very sad day."

"I just want to say it's been rough," he told reporters. "I just want to tell everybody in his family that we're thinking about them and we love them. We'll do whatever we can to help."

Police found Oliver's body Tuesday night at the bottom of a set of stairs in a home in Marietta, Georgia, Cobb County police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said. A family member had called 911.

The county medical examiner ruled the death a suicide by handgun and gave police authorization to release the cause.

Oliver played for the Chargers from 2007 to 2011, recording 144 tackles in 57 games.

A former teammate, Eric Weddle, described Oliver as "charismatic, funny but also quiet and reserved," The Union-Tribune reported. "He never said a bad word about anyone. Just a good, genuine guy."

The circumstances of his apparent suicide were not immediately clear.

Suicides of some other former NFL players involved brain injuries.

Star NFL linebacker Junior Seau was 43 when he took his own life in May 2012. The National Institutes of Health later found he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a neurodegenerative brain disease that can follow multiple hits to the head.

A study published in December in the journal Brain looked at brain tissue of 34 professional football players after they died. All but one showed evidence of disease.

In April 2012, former Atlanta Falcons safety Ray Easterling, 62, committed suicide. An autopsy found signs of CTE.

In February 2011, former Chicago Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, 50, committed suicide with a gunshot to the chest, rather than his head, so his brain could be researched for CTE. Boston University researchers found the disease in his brain.

In December 2012, Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs killed his girlfriend before taking his own life. His remains were not tested for CTE, media reports said.

The NFL launched a crisis support line in July 2012 for players, former players and their families. Called NFL Life Line, it operates independently from the NFL and promises to keep all calls confidential.

"There is no higher priority for the National Football League than the health and wellness of our players," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to personnel and fans at the time.

  • Latest NewsMore>>

  • Rick Perry Calls for More Airstrikes Against Islamic State

    Rick Perry Calls for More Airstrikes Against Islamic State

    Thursday, August 21 2014 9:54 PM EDT2014-08-22 01:54:29 GMT
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday called on the Obama administration to step up airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying the group could pose a direct threat to the U.S."Nothing less than an airstrike to destroy ISIS forces is required," Perry told a packed audience at an event sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank and the National Review.The Republican governor was expected to speak about the crisis of Central American children crossing...More >>
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday called on the Obama administration to step up airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, saying the group could pose a direct threat to the U.S."Nothing less than an airstrike to destroy ISIS forces is required," Perry told a packed audience at an event sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank and the National Review.The Republican governor was expected to speak about the crisis of Central American children crossing...More >>
  • Baylor's Ken Starr Just Latest Big Name to Take Ice Bucket Challenge

    Baylor's Ken Starr Just Latest Big Name to Take Ice Bucket Challenge

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:59:44 GMT
    (KCEN) -- There's no doubt you haven't seen it on your Facebook page: the ALS ice bucket challenge. It's sweeping through social media, and the viral fundraiser is making stops at some of central Texas' most well-known names.More >>
    (KCEN) -- There's no doubt you haven't seen it on your Facebook page: the ALS ice bucket challenge. It's sweeping through social media, and the viral fundraiser is making stops at some of central Texas' most well-known names.More >>
  • 378 People 'Pay It Forward' at Starbucks

    378 People 'Pay It Forward' at Starbucks

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:46 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:46:09 GMT
    An act of kindness at a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida inspired an 11-hour chain of paying-it-forward.A woman drove up and paid for her own iced coffee at 7 a.m. Wednesday at a St. Petersburg store, and also asked to pay for a caramel macchiato for the driver behind her, who then did the same for the next customer.After a few people continued the chain, the employees started keeping a tally on a piece of paper by the window.By 1:30 p.m., 260 people had paid it forward, accordi...More >>
    An act of kindness at a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida inspired an 11-hour chain of paying-it-forward.A woman drove up and paid for her own iced coffee at 7 a.m. Wednesday at a St. Petersburg store, and also asked to pay for a caramel macchiato for the driver behind her, who then did the same for the next customer.After a few people continued the chain, the employees started keeping a tally on a piece of paper by the window.By 1:30 p.m., 260 people had paid it forward, accordi...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KCEN. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.