Cascade Christian graduate Dante Olson is in the rarified air of the National Football League. After being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles in the pre-season, the 2019 Buck Buchanan Award winner who starred at Montana was signed to the team’s practice squad.
It may not be glamorous, but it’s one step closer to the field. As a practice squad member, Olson trains and practices with the team, and becomes more familiar with the Eagles defensive schemes and philosophy. Olson doesn’t suit up on game day, and practice squad members aren’t on the regular roster; however, he may be called upon if an injury occurs with one of the players on Philly’s 53-man roster. This year, with the unique circumstances of COVID-19, an NFL team may carry a higher number than normal on what used to be called the “taxi squad”- 16. Until now, that number has been 12. Taxi squad members receive an $8,000 a week salary.
Dante has gone where no Challenger has gone before. Marty Maurer- who had a remarkable career in the early days of the Challengers football program- went on to star for the Oregon State Beavers as a tight end, and played in OSU’s crushing victory over Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, alongside the likes of Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmanzadeh, and current Beavers coach Jonathan Smith. Maurer signed free agent contracts with the Chargers and Giants, but illness and injury short-circuited Maurer’s pro football quest. His father, Challengers football founder Andy Maurer, played in the NFL for the Falcons, Vikings, 49ers, Saints and Denver Broncos, and he started in two Super Bowls.
Congratulations Dante! We’ll be watching out for you.