Gunner Olszewski describes ‘roller coaster’ ride to Patriots roster

Andy Hart
September 01, 2019 - 6:24 pm

Just before the 4 p.m. Saturday NFL deadline for teams to cut down to a 53-man roster, undrafted rookie wide receiver Gunner Olszewski was with Jake Bailey, watching the Patriots punter’s former Stanford college squad take on Northwestern.

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Earlier in the day, Olszewski’s feel-good summer story had come to an end when New England had informed the Div. II Bemidji State cornerback turned training camp wide receiver that he was going to be cut.

Then his phone rang again and his immediate football future went from a painful down to an exhilarating up. The team had pulled off a late trade with the Houston Texans for cornerback Keion Crossen, opening up a roster spot for Olszewski.

“A roller coaster. Ups and downs. But it ended on an up. I’m happy to be here. That’s pretty much the way I look at it,” Olszewski said Sunday in front of his Gillette Stadium locker following his first official practice as a Patriot. “It was the best phone call of my life, man. It was awesome. It put a smile right on my face. I was just happy to know I have a job. Ready to go to work.”

Bailey, who won the punting job earlier in camp when veteran Ryan Allen was released, was happy to share the unique special moment with Olszewski.

“We were just both kind of quiet, weren’t really talking all that much. Just watching football,” Bailey said. “He got the call and he was talking to a bunch of different people and just super excited. I was excited for him and he was pretty excited himself.”

Olszewski, who’s best shot to play initially will come in the return game, immediately called “my older brother, I called my old man, I called my momma and called my little brother, in that order.”

While Olszewski is now living a dream by earning a job in the NFL, it’s not just his dream. That made the calls to his family, especially his brothers, even more significant.

“I was always the kind of backyard football, between all of us. I was always the best one. I mean I’m six years older than my younger brother, so that’s not all that impressive,” he said with a smile. “They would make me as a player in Madden and play with me. Because it was always kind of all of our dreams for me to do something like this. Yeah, me and my brothers are super tight. I knew I had to call them right away.”

Now that the roller coaster ride is over and the special moment shared with family by earning a job, Olsewski has one simple priority.

“I’m hoping to keep that job,” he said with another smile. “I’m here, man. It’s sunk in. It has to sink in. I gotta go practice. I have a job to do now. I don’t really have time to think about, ‘Wow I’m an NFL player.’ I have a job now, that’s the way I look at it.”

All thanks to the best phone call of his life.

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