Chip Oliver – Oakland Raider and One World Family Member

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Chip Oliver was an Oakland Raiders linebacker who let pro football near the height of his career to live in a commune and work in an organic foods restaurant.

I had read Oliver’s biography, High for the Game, several years ago, but admittedly hadn’t thought much about him until a great SI Vaults piece, WOW, LIKE LET’S REALLY TRY TO WIN, was brought to my attention by Todd Kurlan.

Oliver was a San Diego product, who attended Hoover High School, the same school as baseball hall of famer, Ted Williams.  From Hoover he took a rather circuitous route through Las Vegas, San Diego City College and USC to the Oakland Raiders, where he never truly seemed to fit in.  I must admit that I get a chuckle every time I try to imagine a young hippy attempting to convince the likes of George Blanda, Jim Otto and Ben Davidson to set aside their beers, steaks and generally carousing nature to live in a commune and adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.



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9 Responses to Chip Oliver – Oakland Raider and One World Family Member

  1. TK says:

    Ironically, Oliver auditioned for the role of “Meathead” for the TV show All In The Family while at USC…..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Those_Were_the_Days_(TV_pilot)

    The first pilot, “Justice For All”, was rejected by ABC in 1968, so Norman Lear changed the script slightly from the original pilot as well as some of the actors.

    Chip Oliver was brought in to play Archie’s son-in-law, whose name was changed from Richard to Dickie.

  2. billd says:

    I remember reading this article when it was published in 1970. Chip was a little older when he broke into pro ball with a few more life experiences than most rookies. This article was the first time I read that maybe steak and eggs was probably not the best thing to eat before a sporting event.
    In 1970, the Chargers drafted Tom Williams in the 2nd round, a defensive tackle from UC Davis. Tom was known to camp out in his van during the season on the grass under the trees in front of the Charger practice facility at Sunset Park. Like Chip he played two years.

  3. John Spoulos says:

    Hey Todd, will you be doing a story on Bud Adams anytime soon? He and Lamar Hunt were instrumental in the AFL

  4. Howard says:

    I was at a charity banquet in the late 1980’s and I was sitting at George Blanda’s table. George was a great conversationalist and the subject turned to Chip Oliver. George rolled his eyes and laughed. The Raiders had a 1940’s guy like Blanda and a hippie like Oliver on the same squad. Throw in Ben Davidson and Warren Wells. What a menagerie!

  5. Joe Camicia says:

    I knew Oliver well when he returned to the Raiders for the second time. He was considerably thinner– more like a DB than a linebacker. Upon his first practice in Santa Rosa Al Davis turned to me and a few other kids and said “never say never.”

    Oliver was really a full-fledged hippie at that point but the Raiders being the Raiders nobody really noticed he was different since THEY were all so different in their own way. He was certainly no crazier than any other USC player. They were all notoriously nuts.

  6. jordy says:

    I remember reading the article about him in SI when I was a kid. I just thought about it the other day, googled his name, and ended up here. Not much info on him. Does anyone know what became of him?

    • Tom says:

      Chip wasn’t the only player off his USC team that went the way of the hippie, I knew a couple of former players who in circa 1970 who moved to NE Utah formed a commune and a rock band then disbanded, moved to Four Corners and got jobs working for the power company. They are all now retired on pension.

  7. Andy says:

    Love reading your stories about all the old Oakland Raiders. Please carry on.
    Thanks

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