Learn more about Steelers fourth-year receiver Gunner Olszewski in this edition of Five Fast Facts.
1. Olszewski signed a two-year contract with the Steelers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
2. Olszewski spent three seasons with the New England Patriots after signing with them as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft. He played in 36 games, starting two, and was used primarily as a return specialist. He has a career 23.3-yard kickoff return average and a 12.6-yard punt return average.
He had his best season in 2020 when he finished the season with a 17.3-yard punt return average, which ranked first in the NFL and was the highest return average in Patriots history and the second-highest in the NFL since 1970, despite missing the first three games of the season on the Reserve/Injured List. His efforts in 2020 earned him Associated Press First Team All-Pro and Sporting News All-Pro honors, as well as being named to the Pro Football Weekly All-NFL Team and Pro Football Writers of America All-AFC Team.
2. Olszewski played collegiately at Bemidji State, a Division II school in Minnesota. He was a starting cornerback and return specialist but switched to receiver with the Patriots. He was the NSCI Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 and following his pro day got an invitation to the Patriots rookie minicamp and was signed following the tryout.
4. Has already becoming a true Pittsburgher, throwing out the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates game at PNC Park.
5. He is from Alvin, Texas, a town of around 27,000 people, located about 25 miles from Houston, and home of Hall of Fame baseball player Nolan Ryan, as well as Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and, of course, Olszewski.
"It's a small town outside of Houston," said Olszewski. "Everybody growing up knows who Nolan Ryan is and you want to be like Nolan Ryan. He is a tough guy. That's the guy that represents your hometown. You want to represent well, so I think that's where my toughness comes from."