Foot injuries have sidetracked the past two seasons of Greg Olsen‘s career, and it’s fair to wonder if he will be able to stay healthy enough to be consistently available going forward.
But the veteran Panthers tight end plans to try. While Olsen did not say (via The Athletic’s Joe Person, on Twitter) he will absolutely be back with the Panthers in 2019, the 33-year-old tight end expects to return next season.
He underwent another foot surgery this year, a procedure that ended his season, and said (via ESPN.com’s David Newton) he faces a three- to four-month recovery timetable. These foot problems have limited Olsen to just 16 games over the past two seasons.
Having signed an extension in April, Olsen is under contract through the 2020 season. He is set to count only $6.6MM toward the Panthers’ 2019 cap. While the three-time Pro Bowler acknowledged the franchise could go in a different direction, and that other opportunities may present themselves (Olsen auditioned for ESPN earlier this year), he believes he can still play at a high level into his age-34 season.
The former first-round pick has only caught 34 passes since the start of the 2017 season. He earned his three Pro Bowl bids from 2014-16, surpassing 1,000 yards in each. The Panthers selected Ian Thomas in the fourth round this year, but having signed Olsen to an extension barely eight months ago, the team will likely be ready to carry his contract on the books for at least one more season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.