Former NFL offensive lineman Shane Olivea is dead at the age of 40, the Los Angeles Chargers announced Thursday in a statement mourning his passing.
Olivea's cause and manner of death were not immediately available Friday afternoon. His relatives could not be reached for comment.
An offensive tackle, Olivea was selected by the Chargers — then in San Diego — during the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played four seasons in San Diego, starting in 57 of the 60 games he played in.
In 2006, Olivea played a critical role helping running back LaDainian Tomlinson "break the NFL’s single-season touchdown record," the Chargers said. "Olivea started all 16 games that season at right tackle."
He was a standout player at Ohio State University and a member of its 2002 national championship team.
Olivea’s NFL career fell apart because of an addiction to pain killers. In 2016, a sober Olivea said he wanted to help others avoid the perils of addiction.
He told The Columbus Dispatch he was high every day following his rookie season.
“At my height on Vicodin, I would take 125 a day,” Olivea said. “It got to the point I would take a pile of 15 Vicodin and would have to take them with chocolate milk. If I did it with water or Gatorade, I’d throw it up.”
Olivea stuck with the Chargers until 2008. He was released due to painkiller addiction, according to NBC San Diego. After rehab, he joined the New York Giants, but a back injury cut his time with the team short.
Bobby Carpenter, a linebacker and former player at Ohio State, said in a tweet Thursday that Olivea died Wednesday night.
Carpenter called Olivea “a great one” and hailed his accomplishments on the gridiron at the football powerhouse in Columbus.
Olivea re-enrolled at Ohio State in 2015 and graduated in December, with a degree in sport industry.