Neal Olkewicz

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Neal Olkewicz
Football • Phoenixville

When someone is as good a player as Neal Olkewicz, it translates to hometown pride throughout Chester County but especially in the northern town of Phoenixville from where he hails. Football is argued to be America's favorite pastime and whether you play a little "touch" on Thanksgiving day with your paunchy brother-in-law and some over-the-hill wannabe cousins, or are actually able to maintain a decent spiral, few would dispute there are many in the same league as Olkewicz for miles around. Critics claimed he was just a tad quicker than the fellow with gravel in his shoes but this player gave them something to write about, win after win.

He was a two-sport star in football and baseball at Phoenixville Area High School in the mid-70s, and played middle linebacker for 11 seasons for the Washington Redskins and played three Super Bowls with the Redskins, including victories over Miami and Denver. A bit of trivia for diehard local football fans - he is one of only five players in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl on their birthday (Super Bowl XVII).

Olkewicz was named the MVP in 1988 and signed as a free agent by the Redskins in 1979 after a distinguished collegiate career at the University of Maryland (1975-1978), and the fans didn't let him down either by naming him as one of the 70 Greatest Redskins. During his time in Maryland, he played in four holiday Bowl games and was the Terrapin's leading tacklers in 1978. He played in three Super Bowls with Washington, including victories over Miami (1982) and Denver (1987).

This star linebacker is remembered well not only in his hometown but throughout the field of football and was also inducted into the Tri-County Area Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame last week.
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