Former Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver died Tuesday night at age 29, the victim of an apparent suicide according to a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Georgia coach Mark Richt discussed his former player's death Wednesday afternoon on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference.
“I was crushed this morning when I heard it, quite frankly,” Richt said. “I haven't been able to keep it off my mind.”
Oliver spent five seasons in the NFL, mostly as a reserve defensive back with the San Diego Chargers. He was perhaps best known among Georgia fans as the player who lined up against Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson in the 2006 Georgia-Georgia Tech game and limited the Yellow Jackets superstar to two catches for 13 yards, while also intercepting a pass, breaking up three more and forcing a fumble.
The interception came on Georgia Tech's final drive and sealed the Bulldogs' 15-12 victory.
Oliver opted to return to Georgia for what would have been his senior season, 2007, but he was declared academically ineligible in the spring and entered the NFL supplemental draft. The Chargers picked him in the fourth round of the draft and he went on to play for the team from 2007-10.
Word of Oliver's death began to make the rounds on social media on Wednesday morning.
Oliver's former teammate and fellow UGA defensive back Kelin Johnson posted a photo of himself and Oliver after a Georgia game with the caption, “We fought, we cried, we bled, we won championships, we did mat drills, we partied, we shared a DB bond together all because of our first love, football. I know you are in a better place now.”
Former UGA running back Thomas Brown, now an assistant coach at Marshall, added, “So sad to hear Paul Oliver is no longer with us. Former teammate and friend gone. Keep his family in your prayers.”
Union-Tribune Chargers reporter Michael Gehlken tweeted a statement from Oliver's family in the wake of Wednesday's news: “We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. We request privacy in the wake of this tragic loss.”