Paul Oliver, a football stand-out at Harrison High School and the University of Georgia who later played in the NFL, died Tuesday evening at a Marietta residence of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police officials said. He was 29.
Cobb County police spokesman Mike Bowman confirmed the weapon was a handgun, but would not elaborate on other specifics of the incident.
Oliver leaves behind a number of immediate family members, including his wife, the former Chelsea Young, and two children — Simeon and Silas. He is also survived by his mother, Janice Oliver, brothers Price Oliver IV and Patrick Oliver, and uncle David Scandrett. His family requested privacy “in the wake of this tragic loss,” but thanked the public for their thoughts and prayers, according to the San Diego Tribune, which initially reported Oliver’s death.
A funeral will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Burnt Hickory Baptist Church in Powder Springs. The family will receive friends starting at noon.
Oliver endured some tough times both on and off the field. Each time, he seemed to bounce back.
During his junior year at Harrison, after he twice failed to score from the 1-yard line late in a season-ending playoff loss, he told a reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I would’ve scored both times if I hadn’t slipped, but I’m over it. We’ll use that as a springboard for next year.”
Later at UGA, when grades threatened his eligibility after his junior season, he decided to enter the NFL’s supplemental draft in 2007, where he picked up by the San Diego Chargers in the fourth-round.
“It’s been rough having to go through this,” Oliver said at the time. “… But in the end, it all worked out.”
At UGA, he was a three-time letterman who started at cornerback for the 2006 team. UGA coach Mark Richt said the news of Oliver’s death was “heartbreaking.”
“I’m just, I mean I was just crushed this morning when I heard it, quite frankly,” he said. “I really haven’t been able to keep it off my mind.”
A Kennesaw native, Oliver was Parade All-American and a AJC Super 11 pick in 2002, playing defensive back, wide receiver and kick returner at Harrison. He played on regional championship teams from 2000 to 2002.
Inactive in the NFL after his preseason release by New Orleans in 2011, Oliver spent his entire playing career with the Chargers. In 57 games as a cornerback and safety, he logged four interceptions and 144 tackles.
Condolences for Oliver’s family flooded have social media.
“He’s the best player who ever played here,” Harrison coach Bruce Cobleigh said. “He was very hard-working and motivated and wanted to play football beyond college. That was his dream and he got to do that.”
Chip Towers and Todd Holcomb contributed to this article.
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