Linebacker, 1979 to 1989. After a great career at the University of Maryland, Olkewicz was ignored in the draft but signed as a free agent with the Redskins. He lives in Olney and owns Olkewicz Vending in Rockville.
Most memorable moment?
The ’82 NFC championship game against Dallas at RFK. The Cowboys had been pretty much the power of the NFC East, and we beat ’em. The stands were rockin’. It was a watershed moment. We became the new guys on the block.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Playing 11 years in the NFL, especially being an unsung free agent out of Maryland.
Whom do you most respect?
Kenny Houston, the Hall of Fame safety. He was just finishing up his career when I started. He was a class guy. I’d put Art Monk in that category, too—class guys who were great players and did what they were supposed to do and weren’t looking for any accolades.
Most painful loss?
The Super Bowl against the Raiders in ’84. We had one of our best teams that year. We just came up one game short, and we really stunk up the place in the Super Bowl.
What did you learn playing football?
You’ve got to prove yourself every day. Being a free agent, nothing was given to me, so I had to work hard. A lot of guys were high draft picks, and they burned out in three or four years. I knew I had to keep working hard to stay there, and that’s the same with real life.
Favorite current player?
Chris Cooley—all the girls like him. He seems like he has a good time playing the game and works hard.
Advice for a rookie?
I would tell him to enjoy it while he’s there and work hard to stay because it’s a very competitive business and only the strong survive.
How do the Redskins become champions again?
Team chemistry is important. It’s not always the fastest, strongest, or most publicized guys. We had a good mix of guys who fit in well together, had each other’s backs. We always say, “We had characters with character.”