Former Georgia and NFL defensive back Paul Oliver has died after taking his own life.
Oliver, 29, played for Georgia from 2003-2006 and with the San Diego Chargers from 2007-11.
Oliver died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in a residence in Marietta, said Mike Bowman, public information officer for the Cobb County Police Department.
The Cobb County police responded to the scene and the Cobb County Medical Examiners office determined his death was a suicide.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said Wednesday afternoon he got the news on Oliver earlier in the day.
‚ÄúI was crushed this morning when I heard it, quite frankly,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúI really haven‚Äôt been able to keep it off my mind to be honest with you. We‚Äôve got to find a way to reach out and help in any way we can. If there‚Äôs some way that the Bulldog Nation can rally around that family I hope everybody would be encouraged to do so.‚Äù
Oliver was a five-star recruit and Parade All-American out of Harrison High School in Kennesaw and he played cornerback for Georgia.
‚ÄúWe appreciate all the thoughts and prayers,‚Äù said a statement from Oliver‚Äôs family to the¬†San Diego Union-Tribune. ‚ÄúWe request privacy in the wake of this tragic loss.‚Äù
Word of his passing reached former Georgia tailback Thomas Brown, now an assistant coach at Marshall. Brown said Oliver had moved back to Georgia.
‚ÄúIt was devastating to hear,‚Äù Brown said. ‚ÄúIt was surprising just kind of knowing who he was and his personality. He was always a very high-spirited guy, got a long with everybody. I hate that I haven‚Äôt spent more time talking to him in the last few years. We got kind of separated because of different lives going on.‚Äù
Former Georgia defensive end Charles Johnson, now with the Carolina Panthers tweeted: ‚ÄúPraying for my former teammate and a close friend, Paul Oliver #RIP #idontunderstandwhy‚Äù
Tweeted former Bulldogs tight end Ben Watson, now with the New Orleans Saints: #DawgNation please lift up Paul Oliver‚Äôs family&friends. And take time to invest in another‚Äôs life. Never know if u can be the difference.‚Äù
Oliver had seven interceptions and 94 tackles in his three seasons at Georgia after redshirting his first year.
‚ÄúMy family and I are devastated and heartbroken for Paul‚Äôs entire family, and our throughts and prayers go out to them right now,‚Äù said Tennessee defensive backs coach Willie Martinez, who coached Oliver at Georgia.
Oliver had perhaps his best game with the Bulldogs in a 15-12 win over No. 16 Georgia Tech in 2006.
Oliver held Calvin Johnson, now a star with the Detroit Lions, to two catches for 13 yards.
‚ÄúWe had a wolverine on Calvin Johnson the whole game,‚Äù defensive lineman Ray Gant said then. ‚ÄúPaul Oliver played like a champion today. He was on [Johnson] like white [on] rice.‚Äù
The Chargers selected Oliver in the fourth round of the supplemental draft after he became academically ineligible in the spring of 2007. He said at his personal pro day the he felt like he let his coaches and teammates down after digging too deep a hole in the classroom.
Oliver had four interceptions and 144 tackles with the Chargers.
‚ÄúEveryone in the Chargers family is sad today after hearing the news about Paul,‚Äù the NFL team said in a statement. ‚ÄúHe 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.‚Äù
Oliver is survived by his wife, the former Chelsea Young, and two children.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs heartbreaking for me personally, for our staff, for the Bulldog Nation, I‚Äôm sure, and obviously, for his family,‚Äù Richt said.