ALBANY, N.Y. -- Recently signed New York Giants offensive tackle Shane Olivea said yesterday
that he was addicted to painkillers while playing for the San Diego Chargers last season.
The 26-year-old Olivea, who played at Ohio State, lost his starting job at right tackle in
midseason and was released by the Chargers in February, a move he said he asked the team to
"It's a second chance in my life and football and I'm just happy to have that opportunity," said
Olivea, who was signed by the Super Bowl champions July 10.
Olivea said he did not confront his problem until his family intervened in April. He was treated
at the Betty Ford Center in California.
A rising star who only two years ago signed a six-year, $20 million contract, Olivea indicated
he used prescription pain medication for relief from a number of nagging injuries. He thought he
did a good job of hiding his addiction but said his family noticed changes in him.
"I mean, the people close around me knew. I mean, I wasn't the same person," Olivea said. "You
can hide a lot of things, but your real friends and real family, they know the real you. They saw a
major change and thank God they did, and by the grace of God I was able to get my life turned
In the opening days of training camp, Olivea has been playing with the third-string unit.
"We are just going to have to see how he does now," coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's a whole new
system. He has been under another system and he has got a lot of things he has to learn."