Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen still prefers the Panthers over broadcast booth

Greg Olsen seems destined to make the transition from the playing field to the broadcast booth, but he’s going to return to the Panthers in 2019. 

Network executives might be disappointed to hear that Greg Olsen isn’t ready to become an NFL commentator next year, but no one associated with the Panthers shares in their sorrow.

After foot injuries have robbed the Pro Bowl tight end of half the team’s games the last two seasons, Olsen isn’t considering retirement or moving to the broadcast booth just yet.

“My plan right now, I’m in every day doing my foot rehab, trying to get this thing finally back to where I was used to,’’ Olsen said on Tuesday at Bank of America Stadium. “It seems like it’s been a long time since it was.

His return to full health isn’t as important to the Panthers as Cam Newton’s rehab from shoulder surgery, but Olsen’s presence on the field makes life easier for Carolina’s franchise signal-caller. The team has historically struggled to find a No. 1 wide receiver, but that failure has been overcome by Olsen’s status as one of the NFL’s best tight ends.

The real challenge for Olsen isn’t going to be getting his right foot healthy. The bigger question will be whether he can avoid another season-ending injury. Every time he develops a slight limp on the field fans will naturally begin to wonder whether he’s headed for injured reserve once again. Expect the Panthers to be very careful managing Olsen’s workload until the regular season begins.

The good news for Panthers fans is that the team has really invested heavily in more weapons for Newton in recent years. Christian McCaffrey is one of the most productive running backs in football. He’s arguably the team’s most talented pass catcher. Young receivers like D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel also showed a great deal of promise in 2018. Olsen shouldn’t need to carry as much of the offensive load in 2019 if things go according to play for Rivera and his coaching staff.

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Olsen’s next significant injury might send him straight to the broadcast booth, but he’s not ready to go upstairs quietly. He wants to finish his playing career strong before transitioning to his next profession.

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