Carolina Panthers and Greg Olsen mutually agree to part ways after nine seasons

Carolina Panthers and Greg Olsen mutually agree to part ways after nine seasons
The Carolina Panthers announced Thursday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with tight end Greg Olsen. (Source: AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers announced Thursday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with tight end Greg Olsen.

Olsen tweeted about the decision Thursday afternoon.

“Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with Marty Hurney and have a great conversation regarding my future with the organization. The team and I are both on the same page that it is best we go in different directions for now,” Olsen said. "On the field, I will always cherish the nine seasons we shared together. The wins, the losses, standing at midfield holding the Halas Trophy as NFC champs. The reality of going to the Super Bowl was beyond words, as was the disappointment of falling short. Off the field is where my family felt the warmest embrace. In 2012, upon the news breaking regarding the challenges our son would face, the entire Carolina community wrapped their arms around us in support. My wife Kara and I will be forever grateful for the love and prayers shared with us since that time. Regardless of what path we choose, I will always be a Carolina Panther,” Olsen said.

On Twitter, Olsen says he still has the love of football in his heart and that the door is still open to potential career options.

“At this time, I have not closed the door on any potential career options. I still have the love of football in my heart and will explore all opportunities presented to me,” Olsen said.

He also took time out to acknowledge Panthers teammates, employees and fans for the time he has spent in Charlotte over the past nine years.

“The best part of playing in the NFL are the relationships. I have been surrounded by the best teammates I could have asked for. Lifelong friends that are truly my brothers,” Olsen said.

“Thank you to the fans. Panther Nation was always great to me. I heard all the cheers. I saw all the 88 jerseys. Just know I appreciate you all and you made it fun to be a Panthers,” Olsen continued.

Olsen, an NFL veteran of 13 seasons, ranks fifth all-time among tight ends in both catches, with 718, and yards, with 8,444.

The 34-year-old stands as the franchise’s all-time leading tight end in terms of receiving yards (6,463), receptions (524) and 100-yard receiving games (10). He ranks second among franchise tight ends in receiving touchdowns (39) behind Wesley Walls (44) and third all-time in receiving yards and receptions behind Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad.

Olsen was twice named a finalist for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Inspired by his son T.J., who was born with a severe congenital heart defect, Olsen and his wife established the HEARTest Yard Program to provide services and support for families facing similar challenges.

"Consistency is the word that comes to mind when I think about Greg," owner David Tepper said. "A leader, great teammate, unbelievable family man and true professional. Greg brought passion and an intense, detailed work ethic to the stadium every day. As the 'Jersey' guy on the team, it was good to get to know Greg over the past two years and he will be remembered as one the best Panthers to ever play here. Greg and Kara's work in the community continues to positively impact so many families in our city and the Carolinas."

“Greg’s meant so much to this organization and we have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He earned a reputation as one of the best tight ends in the League and served as a great leader and team captain. As special as he was for us on the field, his impact on the community is just as impressive. We are proud that he wore a Panthers uniform,” GM Marty Hurney added.

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Bears, the team that drafted him in 2007, Olsen was traded to Carolina for a third-round pick ahead of the 2011 season.

He spent the next nine seasons with the Panthers, playing in every game from 2011-16 and emerging as a go-to target for quarterback Cam Newton. He became a leader in the locker room and earned the fitting nickname "Mr. Reliable" after coming through in the clutch time and time again.

During that span he also became the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (2014-16) and he was voted to three Pro Bowls.

Olsen, who missed just two games during the first 10 years of his career, dealt with foot injuries in 2017 and 2018. But he looked more like his old self again in 2019, playing in 14 games and posting 52 receptions for 597 yards and two touchdowns.

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