Fullback Jamize Olawale
Oakland Raiders fullback Jamize Olawale is a man of few words, and that's okay, because he's a bigger fan of leading by example.
As the only true fullback on the roster, the University of North Texas-product does a lot of the dirty work for the Silver and Black, and he does it willingly.
With a trio of running backs in Marshawn Lynch, DeAndré Washington, and Jalen Richard sharing the same backfield as him, as well as dynamic pass catchers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper being featured weapons in the passing game, Olawale knows there's plenty of talent around him, but that doesn't stop him from contributing in any way he can.
Whether it's blocking, receiving, or rushing, Olawale has found a way to take opposing defenses by surprise; a prime example would be in Week 11 last season against the Houston Texans when he hauled in a 75-yard touchdown reception to tie the game.
Even though offense and defense usually garner most of the attention, special teams is a key component in the three phases of football, and it should come as no surprise that No. 49 is making the most of his reps on the unit as well.
Saturday, Olawale came up with a pair of important tackles on special teams that prevented the Los Angeles Rams from finding better field position.
"Any play I'm in, whether it's offense, or special teams, anything to help the team win, that's our goal," said Olawale postgame. "It was fun to be out there with those guys making plays."
A big part of Olawale's contribution doesn't always show up in the stat sheet.
With many of the team's special teams veterans from 2016 departing over the offseason, he's found a new way to make a difference.
"I feel like I need to step up and be a leader," said Olawale. "We have a young special teams group, in terms of experience, so it's important someone steps up and leads, and I feel like it's been put on me. I'm excited about that, I think we have a good group, and we're looking to do big things this year."
After going 12-4 last year, and earning a playoff berth in the process, the Raiders are certainly looking to build on last year's success and continue growing going forward. Individually, Olawale seems eager to do a bit of growing himself, even after he posted career-highs in rushing touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards a year ago.
As the saying goes, "actions speak louder than words," and it's clear that's a mantra the Raiders fullback can get behind. Olawale has taken it upon himself to take some of the younger members of the team under his wing, and do whatever is necessary to increase their knowledge and understanding of the game.
"I'm the type to try to lead by example," he said. "To try to show them what it's like to be a professional, how to go about your job, and preparing, and stuff like that."
Sure, there's plenty of outspoken leaders in the locker room, but sometimes all it takes is seeing someone worrying about what they can control, and doing their job to the best of their ability to make an impact.