Greg Olsen Ready to 'Earn My Stripes' with Seahawks
After mutually agreeing to part ways with the Panthers earlier this month, Greg Olsen faced a tough decision determining his next landing spot in the NFL.
Looking for a fresh start, Olsen scheduled visits with three teams, including the Bills, Redskins, and Seahawks. He strongly considered all three options and turning down the opportunity to play for Ron Rivera in Washington or Sean McDermott in Buffalo wasn't an easy one given his past ties to both coaches.
But the veteran tight end, who turns 35 in March, knows time is running out for him to potentially win a Super Bowl ring. When the time came to make a choice, winning took top precedence and he simply couldn't turn down the chance to catch passes from Russell Wilson on a perennial contender in Seattle.
“I just felt that Seattle’s been special,” Olsen told Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer. “I just feel like their track record of consistency. We’ve seen it up close and personal here in Carolina at times. And obviously Russell Wilson. He’s an elite, special guy at the quarterback position, and Pete Carroll."
As Olsen indicated, he knows the Seahawks quite well after facing them eight times during his nine seasons with the Panthers. In both postseason meetings between the rivals, the winning team eventually advanced to the Super Bowl, with both teams coming up just short of a Lombardi Trophy.
After coming up just short in his lone Super Bowl appearance in 2016, Olsen felt Seattle gave him the best shot at making it back to the big game before changing in his cleats for a broadcast microphone.
"It’s just a really elite situation, and they showed so much interest in me. It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.”
Rebounding from two injury-plagued seasons in 2017 and 2018, Olsen recorded 52 receptions for 597 yards and two touchdowns for Carolina last season. Making his production all the more impressive, he produced most of those numbers without an injured Cam Newton under center on a five-win team.
In Seattle, he will join an offense already featuring star receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. The organization also believes Will Dissly will be ready to return from a torn Achilles tendon for Week 1, giving Wilson a dynamic duo of tight ends at his disposal if both players can stay healthy.
Set to wear a new uniform for the first time since 2010, Olsen compared his move to join the Seahawks to entering the league as a rookie all over again. While there's a bittersweet feeling leaving a franchise he played nearly a decade with, he's fired up for the chance to mesh with his new teammates and compete for a title.
“It’s a new day," Olsen said. "And I’ll earn my stripes with a new team and earn the respect of a new locker room and that’s exciting to me."