Olshansky, Igor : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Olshansky, Igor

In the 2004 NFL Draft, Olshansky was selected with the 35th overall pick (third pick in the second round) by the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers became the surprise team of the NFL during the 2004 season behind NFL Comaback Player of the Year Drew Brees and a surprisingly tough defense. They finished the regular season with a record of 12-4 and won the AFC West title (they are the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs). Igor finished eighth on the team with 39 tackles (28 solo, 11 assisted) and added one sack and three tackles-for-loss. In the playoffs, San Diego lost in overtime to the New York Jets in the wildcard matchup, 20-17 - Igor registered one assisted tackle in the game.

After drafting Igor, San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer said on the team's web site, "We were able to address our defensive line and we thought it was important we got a guy with versatility. The thing about him [Olshansky] is he's got size. He's a very tough, physical hard-nosed guy who gives great effort all the time...he's a run defender who can give us power and push. He brings an attitude I think we need on our defensive line." San Diego Director of Player Personnel Buddy Nix added, "He's a huge guy, he's smart and he has character.

"Nicknamed the "Pain from the Ukraine," the 6'6", 300-pound Olshansky was a defensive lineman for the University of Oregon and was named second team All-Pac 10 in 2003. The team's top defensive lineman as a sophomore in 2002 and junior in 2003, Olshansky skipped his senior season to enter the NFL.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. May 3, 1982

Career Highlights:
Born in Ukraine, Igor and his family emigrated to California and settled in San Francisco. He only began playing football while in high school. After redshirting as a freshman in 2000, Olshansky played regularly for the University of Oregon in 2001 as they had one of the most successful seasons in school history. Led by All-America quarterback Joey Harrington, Oregon finished the season with a record of 11-1 (7-1 in conference). Olshansky, who played in all 12 games, finished the season with 18 total tackles, eight of which were solo. He started two games during the year, against Washington and USC, and had a season-high five tackles in the USC game.

In No. 2 Oregon's dominating 38-16 victory over No. 3 Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl, Olshansky had three tackles as the Ducks held their opponents to 49 yards rushing. Olshansky was named to the Sports Illustrated/CNN All-Bowl team following his performace in the Fiesta Bowl.

In 2002, the redshirt sophomore became a starter on the defensive line. During the season, Olshansky started all 12 regular season games and registered 60 tackles (fifth on the team), three sacks, one blocked kick, and had one interception, which he returned for 37 yards. He had a team-high 12 tackles in the season finale against Oregon State. The Ducks finished the regular season with a record of 7-5. They played Wake Forest in the Seattle Bowl and lost, 38-17.

After an outstanding sophomore season when he was awarded the Joe Schaffeld Trophy as the team's best defensive lineman, Olshansky had an even better season in 2003 when he was named second team All-Pac 10 (he also won the Schaffeld Trophy for the second consecutive year). Igor was considered one of Oregon's top defensive players, playing both defensive tackle and end during the 2003 season as the Ducks finished with a record of 8-4 (5-3 in conference). Olshansky finished fourth on the team in total tackles with 54 (31 unassisted), including a team-high 15 for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He also blocked one kick, and had one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Oregon went to the Sun Bowl, but lost to Minnesota, 31-30.

In their fourth game of the season, a 31-27 victory over then-ranked No. 5 Michigan, Igor and the Ducks defense held Doke Walker Award winner Chris Perry, the nation's leading runner entering the game, to a paltry 26 yards on the ground. The victory was called one of the greatest wins in school history by sports announcer Keith Jackson.

Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

Career Dates:
Olshansky played at the University of Oregon from 2001-2003. He is playing in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, 2004.

Physical description:
6'6", 304 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NFL (through 2004 season):
Games: 16

Tackles: 39 (28 solo, 11 assisted)
Sacks: 1

Interceptions: 0
Interception return yards: 0
Forced Fumbles: 0
Fumble recoveries: 0

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