Tom Nalen admits trying to blow out Igor Olshansky’s knee

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Former Denver center Tom Nalen made a surprising confession during a press conference to introduce him as the next member of the Broncos’ Ring of Fame: Nalen said that in 2006, he attempted to injure Chargers defensive lineman Igor Olshansky.

On the play in question, the Broncos were lining up to spike the ball and stop the clock, and players on both teams just stood up. But Nalen dove into Olshansky’s knee. That infuriated Olshansky, who threw two punches at Nalen and was ejected from the game. Nalen was fined $25,000 for the cheap shot, while Olshansky was fined $10,000 for retaliating.

At the time, Nalen wouldn’t talk publicly about the play, as the Broncos’ offensive line always refused to talk to the media. But on Friday Nalen admitted that he wanted to hurt Olshansky, justifying it because Olshansky had grabbed his facemask on the previous play.

“I wouldn’t consider myself a dirty player,” Nalen said. “I know people will bring up the Igor Olshansky play in 2006, but if people would look at the play before that and realize why I did what I did — and even on that play I missed the cut — so you know definitely, I wanted to blow his knee out on that play because of what happened the play before. But that, you know, is that dirty? I don’t know. It’s revenge, kind of, so.”

Does Nalen really need to ask whether trying to blow out an opposing player’s knee is dirty? If he does, I’ll answer for him: Yes, it was a dirty play. The Broncos’ offensive linemen were often accused of playing dirty during Nalen’s time with the team, and there’s no justification for trying to blow out another player’s knee. No matter what Olshansky did, Nalen was in the wrong.

76 responses to “Tom Nalen admits trying to blow out Igor Olshansky’s knee

  1. “I wanted to blow his knee out on that play because of what happened the play before. But that, you know, is that dirty? I don’t know.”

    Trying to injure someone is actually the definition of a dirty play, so yes.

  2. Sorry, Tom, but that’s dirty.

    It just doesn’t make sense too take out someone’s knees just because they grabbed your facemask violently or whatever. But I know when players are caught in the moment of a football game they are blinded by what may be right or wrong.

    Despite that he was still a great player.

  3. That broncos line was dirty. I remember when they took out jamal williams ,when they blocked him from behind. Biggest cheap shot that ive ever seen

  4. Upon hearing this, Commissioner Goodell replied, “Damn, I was hoping he is currently on the Saints roster so that I can hammer them yet again. Oh, well, since he’s not and retired, sounds like good ol’ NFL football to me. At least he didn’t go for Olshansky’s head.”

  5. The ring just got major tarnish. If someone said they wanted to leave a bruise or something, that might be tolerable. But blow out a knee? Hurt a man potentially for life? Total disgrace.

  6. Typical cheap shot Donkey…and things haven’t changed all that much with that dirty team.

  7. Unfortunately, this is probably a lot more common vs. what people like Nalen actually admit to. But damn, what a scumbag move.

  8. 9 months of rehab = a pulled facemask?

    Really, he’s no different than any player that tries to say they don’t seek to injure other players on the field. It’s all a bunch of lies. These guys would kill each other if it was allowed, but trying to take out a guy when it’s obvious the offense is spiking the ball is beyond dirty. It’s almost criminal.

  9. Did Warren Sapp try to blow out Kyle Clifton’s (?) knee? Of course he did. At least Nalen will now admit it even if it is a cheap shot, dirty play.

  10. It takes a certain type of person to dive at someone’s knee after the whistle. On a play where you know your QB is spiking the football.

    Nalen was one of the dirtiest players in the league at the time on a very dirty O-line. I’m sure he did plenty that game to deserve his face mask being grabbed.

    And to equate that act to trying to end someone’s season and possibly career is laughable.

  11. Anybody passing judgment on Nalen probably never played OL/DL. This kind of thing is part of the war in the trenches, cliche as it sounds. It happens at every level of organized football. I had my knee blown & have seen it even in my boys’ youth league. Get an eye poked & see if you don’t want revenge…

  12. Don’t excuse him for this. He STILL doesn’t know that it was WRONG! I mean I knew that Donky team was dirty so I’m unsurprised, but to openly admit it without contrition……dang man. That’s cold.

  13. The whole zone cut-blocking scheme is dirty. That’s why Denver had such a run of good running backs. Who wants to be a hero when you could go down in a heap of flesh trying to tackle one of those guys.

  14. broncos have ALWAYS been a dirty bunch of cheaters. that’s how they won their first superbowl. you think mark sclareth could block reggie white, sean jones, santana dotson, or gilbert brown without cheating? he asmitted as much, by saying he was old and crippled and begged the refs to let him hold or he “couldn’t feed his family”.

  15. GREAT timing there Tom. You’re probably the type of guy who makes the best man’s toast and says “I hope it’s not inappropriate if I mention the fact that I had the bride first … and often”. Seriously, why would you say that at a press conference confirming your induction into the Broncos Ring of Honor ? I thought Boston College guys were fairly smart …

  16. bcgreg says:
    May 24, 2013 2:30 PM
    Did Warren Sapp try to blow out Kyle Clifton’s (?) knee? Of course he did. At least Nalen will now admit it even if it is a cheap shot, dirty play.

    —————————–

    Warren Sapp caught “Chad” Clifton looking the other way. It was a legal play although many think it was dirty…and he hit him high so no knee was involved.

  17. @ bcgreg

    I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to take his knee out. Injure? I believe that but considering he hit him up high and he injured his hip during the collision with the ground and not Sapp I can say with almost certainty he was not trying to take his knee out.

    That was however very close to criminal much like this bum hitting a guy during what essentially amounts to dead ball time.

  18. Nalen I just representative of the dirty players the Broncos have had for years on that oline. Did this admission surprise anyone?

  19. The Donks cut blocking scheme under Shanahan injured many many defensive players and I don’t find this admission the slightest bit surprising.

  20. The list of players with knee injuries and cracked fibula’s from cut blocks and blocks from behind by the Denver Broncos o-line is quite lengthy. It is a direct result of the tactics taught by Alex Gibbs. These dirty tactics also followed him to Houston and Atlanta and now, back to Denver as John Elway has decided that he best way for the Broncos to return to the Super Bowl is to go back to employing the dirty tactics that were used there in the late 90’s when Shanahan and Elway ran the Broncos offense. This has been brought up many times yet the league does nothing about it, all while claiming that player safety is paramount. It just shows what a sham the whole concussion thing is. All these new rules about leading with the helmet are just to help avoid law suit damages. The guys injured by o-lines coached by Alex Gibbs should band together and file suit against the NFL, Alex Gibbs, and the teams that have employed him.

  21. Easy guys. Nalen was a big time steroid guy. You see how skinny he is now? Try doing ‘roids and not play dirty when you have that stuff running through your veins.

  22. What makes this act more vulgar is that Olshansky was already nursing an injured knee. I say they can work out their differences in the ring. I’ll bet on Igor.

  23. Why aren’t people tearing this guy to shreds like they did Lomas Brown? Because he failed to blow the guy’s knee out?

    No-class to attack someone’s livelihood and post football life because they pulled on your face mask. Gutless and cowardly to do it on a kneel down play.

  24. All you whiners out there with your “doing something on a relax play blah blah blah. Tarnish the trophies for one play blah blah blah…” better not be rooting for a certain team last year that was known for going full contact during the last kneel down play of the game. Nalen admitted to losing his cool on one play during one game. any fans of the above described team should shut up. Any fan of Suhs should shut up. Any fan of Harrisons should shut up. Pretty much everyone that hasn’t played a down in the NFL should shut up. Frickin’ holier than thou chumps.

  25. Sapp’s play was not dirty at all. AT that time in football, those hits were made regularly. That was actually Clifton’s fault for not having his head on a swivel. Sapp actually made a block on a player that was attempting to make a play. Are idiots really comparing it to someone diving at the knees of a player who is lined up to watch a spiked ball? I know football and have been on offensive lines and have made some dirty plays myself. I have hit people blind side, like Sapp and maybe punched a few people but, trying to end ones way of life because he pulled your face mask? Nalen is scum and his reaction says a lot about the person he is. And support from idiots here, says a lot about you too.

  26. Sapp’s play was not dirty at all. AT that time in football, those hits were made regularly. That was actually Clifton’s fault for not having his head on a swivel. Sapp actually made a block on a player that was attempting to make a play. Are idiots really comparing it to someone diving at the knees of a player who is lined up to watch a spiked ball? I know football and have been on offensive lines and have made some dirty plays myself. I have hit people blind side, like Sapp and maybe punched a few people but, trying to end ones way of life because he pulled your face mask? Nalen is scum and his reaction says a lot about the person he is. And support from idiots here, says a lot about you too.
    ————————–
    What play was Clifton trying to make? He was nowhere near the ball or an opposing player, Sapp hit him just to take him out. The block he put on Clifton was a cheap shot, there was no play that Clifton could have been trying to make, plus Sapp launched himself to hit Clifton and just about ended his career. Bragging about blind side hits and punching says a lot about you.

  27. “The Broncos’ offensive linemen were often accused of playing dirty during Nalen’s time with the team, and there’s no justification for trying to blow out another player’s knee.”

    Amen.

  28. If I were betting on who could win a face mask pulling contest between mbhcu98 and acmepacker, I’d have to go with the lineman, no matter what the odds.

  29. I see nothing wrong with this. You call it dirty, I call it Tom Nalen can do whatever he wants because he was 285 pounds playing outstanding Center for his whole career.

  30. What a freakin’ a–hole Nalen is. I mean really, a guy grabs your facemask and you try to blow out his knee, really??

    And the Broncos are putting him in the Ring of Honor. Really? Why doesn’t Nalen have the sense to keep his mouth shut now – his lack of judgement obviously continues. That’s something worth honoring, right Denver Broncos?

  31. Waaaaaah. You people are ridiculous. This kind of play goes on in the NFL every single Sunday. If you don’t believe so, you’re simply naive. It’s a violent game, played by very large men who in the course of the game, hate each other. Especially those on the line of scrimmage

  32. Whole bunch of cheaters I remember in the 97 playoff game when the o-line rubbed vaseline all over their jerseys. Hated them then & still hate them now more than any team in that division!

  33. On his radio show here in Denver (102.3 ESPN) ,Nalen said Olshansky smacked him in the head late in the 4th quarter as they were running downfield to spike the ball to stop the clock. Then he decided to get even, but missed then Olshanksky punched him a few times, got tossed from the fame. Nalen said he wasn’t aware what a concussion was at the time but the cheap shot gave him one. Screw Olshansky

  34. 35+ years Broncos fan and huge Nalen fan. But that is a fu–ed up move. A facemask doesn’t equal a knee injury. Punch him in the nuts. But there is a long history of the other teams in that division taking cheap shots at Broncos players. Seattle was the only team to play Denver fair. The Raiders, Chargers and Chiefs are all douches.

  35. aha from what i remember most from this game was the chargers rallied back from 24-7 down at halftime to win the game 35-27..first charger win in denver in 6 years…what a great day that was

  36. Steroids, and a culture of broncos lineman taking chop blocking techniques to a new level in the NFL is no surprise, it has been going on for years. The donks taught the rest of the NFL to do both.

    Howie Long, I think you have a lot to say about this?

  37. Further news on this one. A source says that he dove at his grandmothers walker at age 16 breaking her…

    I have watched tom for years, he will tear your head apart, and your ACL. But as we all post on here, “That is football?

    Hail Cesar.

  38. “Ring of Honor” my ass.

    That Bronco team had no honor whatsoever, just a long list of turds, starting with Mike Shanahan.

  39. Love this! It’s how the game is supposed to be played!! Do what you have to do to win the game!

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