Former BSU star Olszewski named to AP NFL All-Pro Team

Former Bemidji State standout and New England Patriots punt returner Gunner Olszewski has been rated as the best at his position in the NFL.

New England Patriots wide receiver Gunner Olszewski (80) catches a punt during a Nov. 29 game against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports)
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Former Bemidji State standout Gunner Olszewski has been rated as the best at his position in the National Football League. The punt returner for the New England Patriots was named to the Associated Press NFL All-Pro First Team on Friday, becoming the first Beaver to ever earn such an honor.

A second-year pro, Olszewski led the NFL with 346 punt return yards and 17.3 yards per punt return from 20 attempts, while fielding a league-high three returns of 40 or more yards. He also tied for the league lead with four returns of 30 or more yards and one punt return touchdown.

Olszewski’s punt return average established a new Patriots record, eclipsing 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.

Only one other player has averaged more than 17.3 yards per return from a minimum of 20 punt returns in a season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger: Buffalo’s Leodis McKelvin, who averaged 18.7 yards per return on 23 attempts in 2012.

Also listed as a wide receiver, Olszewski wasn’t limited to punt returns. He posted five receptions for 62 yards with one touchdown, five rushes for 23 yards and 18 kickoff returns for 418 yards. The former BSU defensive back also totaled two tackles, one solo and one assisted.


The highlight of Olszewski’s season came in a 45-0 win over the Chargers on Dec. 6 . He recorded his first career touchdowns, one from a 70-yard punt return and the other on a 38-yard reception. He racked up 145 yards on three punt returns and earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors as a result.

The AP NFL All-Pro teams are selected by a national panel of 50 media members. In all, 18 AFC and 11 NFC players earned selections , and half of the league’s 32 teams have a 2020 All-Pro.

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