BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Former Bemidji State University football All-American Gunner Olszewski made the initial 53-man roster as a wide receiver with the New England Patriots of the National Football League.
Olszewski will begin his second season with the Patriots in 2020 after signing an undrafted free agent contract with the team in May 2019. He played in eight games during his rookie season, mainly as a punt returner, and became just the third Beaver ever to play in a regular-season game in the NFL.
Olszewski recorded 20 punt returns for 179 yards, averaging 8.95 yards per return, and two receptions for 34 yards in 2019. Two of his punt returns were returned for at least 20 yards while he ranked sixth in punt return average among players with at least 20 returns. Olszewski is listed as the team’s main punt returner and a third-string wide receiver on the depth chart according to Patriots.com.
Olszewski converted from defense with Bemidji State, starting all 42 games played at cornerback, to wide receiver with New England. He was named to four All-America teams at defensive back following his senior season with BSU in 2018.
Olszewski follows in the footsteps of BSU football greats Brian Leonhardt and Al Wolden, who are the only other Beavers to play in a regular-season game in the NFL. Leonhardt played in 12 games in 2014 with the Oakland Raiders before making an appearance in four games with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015.
The New England Patriots open the 2020 regular season Sunday, Sept. 13 with a home game against the Miami Dolphins.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).