Even away from the Bemidji State University football team for two years, former All-American Gunner Olszewski is setting program firsts as a member of the New England Patriots. Olszewski became the first Beaver ever selected to The Associated Press National Football League All-Pro Team, as the news outlet announced its 2020 selections Friday.
Olszewski, a wide receiver and returner in his second season with the Patriots, earned All-Pro First Team status as a punt returner for the first time in his career. He led the NFL with 346 punt return yards, a 17.3 punt return average and three 40+ yard returns, and also tied for first with four 30+ yard returns and one punt return touchdown. Olszewski’s punt return average set a new Patriots program record, topping 12th-year wide receiver Julian Edelman’s record of 15.5 yards per return set in 2012, while he also became just the third Patriot ever to lead the NFL in punt return average.
Olszewski capped his sophomore campaign with the Patriots by totaling 346 punt return yards on 20 returns, with zero fumbles, and a long return of 70 yards in 13 games. He recorded 316 of his punt return yards over the final six games of the season. Olszewski added five receptions for 62 yards, averaging 12.4 yards per catch, one receiving touchdown, five rushes for 23 yards, and 18 kickoff returns for 418 yards. Getting back to his roots with BSU, Olszewski also added two total tackles, one solo and one assisted.
Olszewski broke out Dec. 6 as he totaled 145 yards on three punt returns, including a 70-yard punt return touchdown, to help the Patriots to a 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. He added his first career receiving touchdown late in the game, a 38-yard catch and run for the game’s final score. The NFL named Olszewski the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the game. He nearly scored his first career punt return touchdown a week before against the Arizona Cardinals, but saw it called back on a penalty.
Patriots punter Jake Bailey joined Olszewski on the AP All-Pro First Team while wide receiver Matthew Slater earned a spot on the second team.
The AP NFL All-Pro teams are selected by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. In all, 18 players represent the AFC and 11 for the NFC, while half of the 32 clubs have a 2020 All-Pro.
For more information on the Bemidji State athletic programs, tickets or schedules, visit BSUBeavers.com, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), or like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers).