[Note by Grizz]: Continuing our discussion of our new free agents. Igor Olshansky is spotlighted below by Jim Vance. Olshansky was brought here to play the DE position vacated by Chris Canty. Will he be better than Canty? Can he generate pressure in the opponent's backfield? Will the Cowboys benefit from his good relationship with Wade Phillips? Read Jim's profile then discuss how Igor Olshansky will fare this season. [End Note]
EEE-gor, EEE-gor, EEE-gor; a crowd chant that will surely be heard this season at Jerry World as our newest D-line player jumps up and flexes his muscles after a play. The crowd chanted it when he played for the Oregon Ducks and they chanted it when he played for the San Diego Chargers. I believe he is just coming into his own as a player and his best years are still to come. The Cowboys signed him to a 4 year/$18 MM contract. He's a blue collar guy who does his job.
Igor was born on May 3, 1982 in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine and lived there until his family immigrated to San Francisco in 1989. His father Yury was worried that cultural anti-semitism in the Ukraine would limit his offspring's occupational opportunities as it did his. He has embraced his Jewish roots and is an icon in the Jewish community.
He was a tall kid and began to play basketball in prep school. Already over six feet tall at age 14, he was recruited by St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco to play for their basketball squad. It wasn't long before the football coach came calling on the 6'4" 250-pound high school sophomore to see if he might like another American game.
Olshansky's size was an advantage at that level but he lacked the instincts that come with having grown up playing the game. He was not highly recruited coming out of high school and was red-shirted his first year at Oregon. To his credit he knew he had much to learn about the game and dedicated himself to working on his craft. He earned more playing time and had a solid performance at the 2002 Fiesta Bowl as a sophomore and made his first blip on the NFL scout's radar. He skipped his senior year to enter the draft and at the combine he and another DL had an informal contest to break the bench press rep record. Both did but the other player had 42 reps to Olshansky's 41. Igor was so ticked off at getting beat that he vowed to break the record at his pro day. He had 43 reps and this probably moved him from a late third round to an early second round pick of the Chargers in the 2004 draft.
He's been a solid player with the Chargers, not a star but a solid contributor. Wade Philips was the Chargers Defensive Coordinator when Igor was drafted and obviously Wade had a hand in bringing in another FOP (Friend of Philips) to Dallas. I think the reunion will be good for both of them. Igor had his best year under Wade's tutelage and he seems like a blue collar guy who will do his job.
Just what we need.