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7/29/2008 9:48 AM
OG Shane Olivia  (United States)
Former Ohio State lineman fights addiction
Tuesday,  July 29, 2008 3:01 AM
Associated Press
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 make.

"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 around."

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."


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