CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen is clearly a hands-on dad.
At the NBC Charlotte studios to appear on Charlotte Today, his whole family joined him. For much of our interview he juggled holding two of his three kids at a time. Wife Kara stood with him, holding their daughter Talbot, while Greg’s mom looked-on, clearly proud.
As an outside observer, it's hard to decide what seems tougher: what the Panthers tight end manages on the field, or the wrangling he and wife Kara do off the field.
“This seems like a handful,” NBC Charlotte commented.
“Oh, it is,” Greg responded, “But it’s fun. We wouldn't trade it for anything. We've had some rough moments over the last couple of years, but the good has definitely outweighed the difficult.”
The Olsen’s oldest, Tate, is 2-and-a-half. Twins Talbot and T.J. turned 1 in October.
Dad says TJ is doing remarkably well, but it’s clear the parents are still holding their breath. Their youngest son has already undergone two surgeries and needs a third because of the heart defect he was born with.
“We're very fortunate; he's had a couple ups and downs. We have about a year until his next scheduled surgery, so we're just really trying to enjoy the family and just get there,” Greg added.
Enjoying this family is easy.
“Hey Tate when we go and throw pennies in the wishing well, what do we wish for?” Greg asks his son.
The 2-and-a-half-year old tells his dad, “TJ's heart.”
“And has it worked so far?”
The couple is so grateful for TJ’s health that they are working to help other families. They created The Heartest Yard, a non-profit that provides in-home care and other services for babies with congenital heart defects.
The Queen City has rallied around the cause and their family.
“Everyone in Charlotte-- the support we’ve gotten from the fans and the local community has been topnotch,” Kara says.
It's been a trying year, but also a fun one topped by a winning Panthers season that saw Greg growing a grizzly playoffs beard. One wife Kara didn’t entirely love.
“I was not a fan, but you gotta take one for the team,” she says.
Greg adds, “She’s a really great team player after all these years. She gets the greater good.”
It's clearly all about teamwork for the Olsens, on, but especially off, the field. And there is really one main focus.
“That’s all that matters at the end of the day is trying to keep them happy and healthy, keep things relatively normal,” Kara says, smiling.
There are several upcoming events for The Heartest Yard – including a chance to meet Greg in person.
For more information on the events and the charity click here.