Ex-Beaver Gunner Olszewski Makes Patriots Roster
A rollercoaster of a day ended with Gunner Olszewski landing on the New England Patriots 53-man roster.
Earlier in the day, it was widely reported that Olszewski was cut from the team. A practice squad spot seemed to be his most likely landing spot. However, a trade by the Patriots opened up a roster spot and the feel-good underdog story continued with Olszewski making the team.
Olszewski signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Patriots on May 22 after leaving BSU as the program’s all-time leader in punt return yardage and solo tackles. He converted from defense with Bemidji State, starting all 42 games played at corner back, to wide receiver with New England. In addition to wide receiver duties, Olszewski served as a kickoff and punt returner during four preseason games.
Early on, Olszewski is expected to receive most of his playing time on special teams duty in the return game.
Through the preseason, Olszewski finished with nine punt returns for 118 yards, four kickoff returns for 95 yards, five catches on seven targets for 69 yards, one rush for seven yards and one tackle. He ranked sixth among NFL punt returners in yards per return (minimum five returns) and 10th among kickoff returners in yards per return (minimum four returns) through the preseason. Olszewski was also tied for fifth in punt returns during the preseason.
Olszewski made one start in four preseason games August 17 against the Tennessee Titans, finishing with one reception on two targets for six yards, one kickoff return for 18 yards and one punt return for 14 yards in the game. He recorded a preseason-high three kickoff returns for 77 yards August 29 against the New York Giants and totaled four punt returns for 63 yards August 22 against the Carolina Panthers. In the preseason finale against the Giants, Olszewski made an appearance on all three sides of the ball, playing 29 plays on defense, 23 on offense and 16 on special teams.
Olszewski follows in the footsteps of BSU football greats Brian Leonhardt and Al Wolden, who are the only other Beavers to play in a regular season game in the NFL. Leonhardt played in 12 games in 2014 with the Oakland Raiders before making an appearance in four games with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015.