Bears tight end Greg Olsen couldn’t have been happier with his decision to go to the University of Miami.
While there on a scholarship, Olsen starred for the Hurricanes and earned a criminology degree.
And he also met Kara, whom he married in March.
Given all those reasons, Olsen said it’s easy to lend his support to the University of Miami Alumni Association of Chicago’s scholarship classic next week.
“I’m just trying to give back for the opportunities they gave to me,” he said. “They gave me a scholarship to come play there, one of the top teams in the country, and believed in me and developed me and helped me get drafted.”
“Anyway I can help support them and give other kids opportunities…”
Olsen, Miami head coach Randy Shannon, and Walter Payton’s son, Jarrett, will be among the notable guests to attend a dinner to honor Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, a Hurricane alum, next Thursday at the Metropolitan Club.
Then, on Friday, there will be a golf outing at Oakbrook Country Club. Last year’s events raised $45,000 for scholarship funds earmarked for Chicago-area students who want to attend the University of Miami.
“It’s a cool event,” Olsen said. “It’s rare, Miami being a small school, to have that presence in Chicago.”
In three NFL seasons, Olsen never had a chance to play Reed. Last season, in December, the Bears played in Baltimore but Reed was sidelined with an injury.
But, Olsen knows all about Reed, a six-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection.
“He’s kind of a legend down there, to all us young kids coming in,” Olsen said of Reed. “It’s a school that’s proud of the players it produces. It’s well documented the guys who come back and train.
“He was a guy, when I was a young kid playing, he would come back in the off-season and work out with us. We all knew what he did while at Miami, but also a potential Hall of Fame career. The best safety of his time, and one of the best ever.”
Olsen said Reed’s uniqueness lies in his versatility.
“He’s just someone you have to account for. Most safeties are a ball guy or a box guy, run support. He’s the whole package,” Olsen said.
For those interested in tickets to the dinner or golf outing, visit www.chicago-canes.org.