Igor Olshansky (//; born 3 May 1982) is a Ukrainian-born former American football defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oregon and was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He also played for the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
Olshansky before a 2009 game
|No. 99, 95|
|Born:||3 May 1982|
Dnipropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
|Height:||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight:||315 lb (143 kg)|
|High school:||San Francisco (CA) St. Ignatius|
|NFL Draft:||2004 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Olshansky was born in the industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Soviet Union. His father Yury had played basketball for the Red Army. Shortly before the break-up of the Soviet Union, he and his family moved to San Francisco in 1989, when he was seven years old. His maternal grandfather, Abraham Rubshevsky, fought in World War II for the Red Army, and was injured 11 times. 
Olshansky is Jewish and he acknowledged that, "It's who I am; my culture; my roots". During his youth he attended the Lisa Kampner Hebrew Academy in San Francisco, headed by Rabbi Pinchos Lipner, an Orthodox Jewish day school. He then attended St. Ignatius College Preparatory on a basketball scholarship, and – already 6' 5" in the 10th grade – played basketball for the school until his junior year, while concurrently playing basketball in the Maccabiah Games in St. Louis and Milwaukee. After two years, he also began playing football in his junior year in high school.
At the University of Oregon, where he majored in psychology, Olshansky was honorable mention academic All-Pac-10 in his freshman year, and picked for Sports Illustrated's All-Bowl Game team at the end of the season. He was honorable mention All-Pac-10 as a sophomore, second-team All-Pac-10 as a junior, and recipient of the Joe Schaffeld Trophy as the Ducks' top defensive lineman after both his sophomore and junior seasons. He was used at all defensive line positions.
In his career at Oregon he had 146 tackles (89 solos), 11.5 sacks, 3 blocked kicks, and one 37-yard interception return in 38 games. Olshansky left school following his junior season, with one year of eligibility remaining.
2004 NFL CombineEdit
|Ht||Wt||40-yard dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 5 1⁄4 in
|4.96 s||1.75 s||2.80 s||4.41 s||7.61 s||33 1⁄2 in
|9 ft 2 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
In early try-outs for the draft, he bench-pressed 102.1 kilograms (225 lbs) 41 times on one try, two presses short of the rookie record. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds and jumped 33.5 inches from a stationary position. He scored high on the Wonderlic intelligence test in spite of still being unfamiliar with the English language. A National Football Conference scouting director observed: "He can play both end and tackle, he can control the point and rush the passer, he's a very good athlete."
San Diego ChargersEdit
In the second round (35th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft, the San Diego Chargers selected Olshansky out of the University of Oregon. In August 2004, Olshansky and the Chargers agreed on a 6-year contract, with the final year being voidable. The contract called for a $2.25 million signing bonus and had a value of $5.2 million over five years, through the 2008 NFL season. He became the NFL's first Soviet-born player.
Olshansky was ejected from a game against the Denver Broncos on 19 November 2006. He punched Broncos center Tom Nalen after what appeared to be Nalen trying to cut block Olshansky on a clock-stopping spike play. Olshansky had recently had knee surgery when Nalen went after Olshansky's knees. Two days later, the NFL fined Nalen $25,000 for the cut block, more than double the $10,000 fine Olshansky received for the punch.
Olshansky signed a four-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys on 6 March 2009. The deal was worth $18 million, with $8 million of it guaranteed. He finished the season with 76 tackles (seventh on the team), 2 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 12 quarterback pressures and 3 passes defensed.
|Year||Team||GP||COMB||TOTAL||AST||SACK||FF||FR||FR YDS||INT||IR YDS||AVG IR||LNG||TD||PD|
- GP: games played
- COMB: combined tackles
- TOTAL: total tackles
- AST: assisted tackles
- SACK: sacks
- FF: forced fumbles
- FR: fumble recoveries
- FR YDS: fumble return yards
- INT: interceptions
- IR YDS: interception return yards
- AVG IR: average interception return
- LNG: longest interception return
- TD: interceptions returned for touchdown
- PD: passes defensed
He was arrested Thursday, 1 December 2011, for marijuana possession as part of an undercover bust that resulted in 280 arrests. The Broward Sheriff's Office went to Olshansky's condo in Fort Lauderdale to investigate Olshansky's friend, but ended up arresting both men. He was charged with possession of 19 grams of marijuana.
- Ezra Mendelsohn (2009). Jews and the sporting life. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195382914. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Josh Dubow. "Lineman from Ukraine Could be First-Round Pick". Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Levi Brackman, Rivkah Lubitch (20 June 1995). "NFL star: Judaism is part of me". Ynetnews. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Barry Horn (26 September 2009). "A spiritual force: Cowboys' Igor Olshansky takes a fierce pride in his Jewish faith". The Victoria Advocate. Victoria, Texas. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Ira Miller (14 April 2004). "NFL DRAFT PREVIEW / Football no longer foreign to Olshansky". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "2011 NFL Football Preview". Jewish Sports Review. 8 (87). pp. 6–7.
- Josh Whisler (2 August 2009). "Cowboys add muscle on defense with Olshanksy". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Berkwits, Jeff (1 July 2004). "Sampson of the gridiron". San Diego Jewish Journal[permanent dead link]
- Joe Eskenazi (30 April 2004). "I-Gor! I-Gor!: From Hebrew Academy playground to NFL playbook". j. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- David Elfin (Fall 2010). "Igor Olshansky: Samson of the Gridiron". Bnai Brith Magazine. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- John Tranchina. "Igor Olshansky continues to provide a presence on the defensive line". Dallascowboys.com. Retrieved 22 September 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Igor Throws his Weights Around". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- "Igor Olshansky, DT, Oregon". USA Today. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- "Igor Olshansky's brute strength could make him a sleeper pick". Portland Tribune. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Bob Boyles, Paul Guido (2008). The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Modern Reference to America's Most Colorful Sport, 1953–Present. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN 9781602393318. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Eric Stephens (24 August 2004). "Chargers Have Faith in Him; Jewish players are rare in the NFL, but many feel Olshansky will be an impressive rookie". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Harvey Rosen (20 October 2005). "Jewish players, owner score in pro football". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "Rookie Scores as NFL's First Player From Former Soviet Union". The Forward. 17 September 2004. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Kevin Acee, "Olshansky-Nalen incident in back of Chargers' minds", The San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 December 2006.
- "Igor Olshansky, DT for the Miami Dolphins at". Nfl.com. 18 September 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- Rick Herrin, "Cowboys sign veteran defensive end Olshansky", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7 March 2009.
- "Dolphins sign DL Olshansky, CB Jones to shore up defense". Nfl.com. 11 September 2001. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- "Cowboys cut DE Igor Olshansky". SportingNews.
- Former Cowboys DE Olshansky Signs With Miami - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
- Miami Dolphins waive kicker Shayne Graham
- "Igor Olshansky Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "San Francisco 49Eers Select Jewish Safety Taylor Mays Archived 2011-01-04 at the Wayback Machine". San Francisco Sentinel. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 13 May 2010
- "Former Miami Dolphin Igor Olshansky arrested on marijuana charge". Sun-Sentinel. South Florida.