Even in his wildest dreams, Neal Olkewicz never thought he would have the football career he ended up having. Like every little boy, Olkewicz would imagine playing college and professional football while daydreaming during his formative years. Pretending to be Chuck Bednarik or Jim Brown, Olkewicz was like most young boys playing in the sandlots of any town across our land. Idolizing sports' stars was a way of life for youngsters, and provided fantasies for all to pursue.
Then Olkewicz started to develop certain skills. He had unbelieveable instincts, and was able to overcome other shortcomings because of those traits, and people started to take notice. Older people....coaches....fans....they all couldn't wait for Neal to become old enough to show off those skills. Finally, Olkewicz reached the high school level, and the dividends certainly paid off! He started and played at a very high level, leading the Phantoms to wins in the very competitive ChesMont League. Because he was only 6' and 210 lbs., Olkewicz was not highly recruited. He narrowed his choices to Villanova and Maryland. The Terrapins won out, and boy what a win it was. Olkewicz went on the win a starting spot as the Middle Linebacker on defense, setting records for most tackles each year, then for a career. He was named the Captain of the Terps, earned Most Valuable Player of his team, and also named to several All-American teams.
Olkewicz continued to defy the odds by making the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent. He then went on to earn the starting job as the middle linebacker for 11 years. He went to three Super Bowls, helping the 'Skins win two of them. Olkewicz finished his career with nearly 1,500 tackles, six interceptions, 12 sacks and one touchdown. He was named to the prestigious "Top 70 Greatest Redskins" of all-time. He did all that for one of the most storied franchises in NFL history. Not too bad for a kid from Phoenixville, PA who was considered too small and too slow to play!
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