SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Despite speculation that he may hold out of training camp, Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said he was “ready to rock” after arriving at Wofford College Tuesday.
Olsen, who is the only tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, said with the transition from former general manager Dave Gettleman to interim GM Marty Hurney, he didn’t want to add to an already tumultuous situation.
“Things changed a little bit last week with the move to let go of Dave,” Olsen said while holding court to a throng of reporters. “With everything going on and the transition to Marty and the slight chaos that went around another week, I just didn’t feel like it was right to kind of add fuel to that fire.”
Speculation of contract negotiations with Olsen and linebacker Thomas Davis arose in the immediate aftermath of Gettleman’s firing. Last week, Davis said it would be “unfair” to say any contract talks involving him led to owner Jerry Richardson’s decision.
Olsen chose a slightly different path, saying he was focused on helping the team improve from a disappointing 2016 campaign.
“I didn’t think it was right to the guys that count on me to be a leader on this team, the coaches, and the people in this organization, from Mr. Richardson on down, who count on me to set a certain example by both my presence here and also by my play,” Olsen said.
“I just didn’t think my selfishness would do any good for the betterment of the team, so as much as we would have loved to, or still would like to, or whatever the situation now is, getting something done.”
After the 2014 season, Olsen signed a 3-year, $22.5 million extension to remain with the team through 2018. He is set to make $6.5 million in base salary over the next two seasons.
According to Spotrac.com, Olsen is the sixth-highest paid tight end in the NFL on average per season at $7.5 million. Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz, and Charles Clay each make more than Olsen under their current deals.
Olsen downplayed negotiations having an effect on his play, saying nothing that’s happened over the last couple of months would change that.
“The reality is I’m here at camp, obviously, ready to go as I always am, ready to have as good of, if not better, season as I’ve ever had,” Olsen remarked. “Once it’s time to go, I’m always ready to go, so we’ll see what happens from here on out as far as the other stuff is concerned.”
Olsen went on to say that he plans on playing out his contract and won't try to restart negotiations at this time.
Olsen indicates he won’t try to get talks going and “will play out contract.”— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) July 25, 2017
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