Paul Oliver was a standout defensive back for the University of Georgia before the San Diego Chargers selected him in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Oliver was quiet but possessed a magnetic personality and a devout love of his family. He married his college sweetheart, Chelsea, and the two of them had two boys; Simeon and Silas. Oliver retired after five seasons in the NFL, and subsequently his characteristic drive began to fade. He suffered near constant headaches and battled depression. On September 24, 2013, Oliver took his life at age 29. Chelsea donated his brain to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, where Dr. Ann McKee diagnosed him with Stage 2 (of 4) Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). To honor Oliver, the University of Georgia Athletic Department launched the “Wall of Inspir8tion”, where students can post inspirational notes to others and find informational materials on where to find help if you are struggling.
On March 30, 1984, the future Parade Magazine All-American was introduced to the world by his mother, Janice Oliver. The youngest of three brothers, Paul was not overly talkative, but he immediately had a way about him that made people gravitate towards him. He had an innate ability to bring his family together and was the brother and son who made sure his family was taken care of from an early age. He truly separated himself in athletics.
Paul rose to become one of the nation’s top-five defensive backs during his days at Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga., with a dozen interceptions and more than 120 tackles during his last two years suiting up for the Hoyas. But his talent stretched beyond the gridiron. Paul set Harrison’s 400-meter dash record and was part of the school’s record-setting 4x400m relay team. As a standout multisport athlete he had the potential to have a collegiate career in track or football. Paul found his true passion in football.
After sifting through scores of scholarship offers, Paul decided to attend and play football at the University of Georgia. His drive for the sport blossomed in Athens and he connected with another family - his Bulldog teammates and coaches. It was also on the UGA campus that he met a Bulldog volleyball player from California named Chelsea Young and the two quickly became inseparable. On the field, Paul battled for playing time his first two seasons before starting all 13 contests in 2006 and finishing with 57 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss, and three interceptions. His final season with the Bulldogs finished with a highlight, as Paul limited future NFL All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson to a pair of catches for 13 yards during the win over the Yellow Jackets.
Paul decided to throw his hat in the ring during the 2007 NFL Supplemental Draft and was selected in the fourth round by the San Diego Chargers. He ended up playing in 57 games for the Chargers between 2008-11, starting 12, and had 144 stops to go with an interception during each of his five years in the League. During this period, Paul, the quiet, driven defensive back, and Chelsea, the outspoken volleyball setter, married and had two sons, Simeon and Silas. Paul had a relentless love for his wife and kids and found his new life’s passion in being a father and husband.
After Paul retired from the NFL, his characteristic drive began to fade. He suffered near constant headaches and battled depression. Paul departed this world too soon on September 24, 2013 at the age of 29. His brain was donated to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, where Dr. Ann McKee diagnosed him with Stage 2 (of 4) CTE. In 2019, the University of Georgia Athletic Department launched the “Wall of Inspir8tion”, where students can post inspirational notes to others and find informational materials on where to find help if you are struggling. Paul’s legacy will never be forgotten by his Bulldog family.