Greg Olsen gets emotional, hugs teammates after what could be his final NFL game
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen hasn’t spoken about his future in the NFL past 2019, but he may have dropped a big hint after Sunday’s game.
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After the contest — a 42-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints — Olsen shook hands with and hugged teammates before leaving the field, according to Joe Person of The Athletic.
Sure looked like good-bye from Greg Olsen, with hugs and handshakes for teammates and waves to the crowd.
— Joe Person (@josephperson) December 29, 2019
Earlier in the game, the 34-year-old Olsen got emotional when the Panthers gave him a tribute on the scoreboard.
Huge ovation for Greg Olsen in Carolina 💯 @gregolsen88 pic.twitter.com/hkf60bXCf0
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 29, 2019
Olsen also hugged his long-time tight end coach Pete Hoener at the end of the fourth quarter.
Touching moment here between Greg Olsen and longtime TE coach Pete Hoener pic.twitter.com/QbIJUwAN0A
— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) December 29, 2019
All of that seems to suggest Olsen is ready to call it quits. After the game, however, Olsen wouldn’t commit to hanging up his cleats. Though he did drop hints he was leaning that way.
Greg Olsen on the apparent “goodbye moments” today: Sometimes you can see the writing on the wall. There hasn’t been anything official, but I wanted to show everyone how much I appreciate them.
— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) December 29, 2019
If that’s the case, fans shouldn’t be too surprised. Olsen considered retirement last offseason before coming back to the Panthers. Olsen has expressed a desire to transition into broadcasting once his playing career is over.
If this is it for Olsen, he would leave the game as one of the most accomplished tight ends of his era. The first-round pick showed flashes of brilliance as a member of the Chicago Bears, but really blossomed once he went to Carolina. Olsen quickly became Cam Newton’s go-to target, and rewarded the team with three Pro Bowl appearances. He also helped the team reach the Super Bowl in 2015, where it came up short against the Denver Broncos.
Olsen likely returned in 2019 believing the Panthers could win it all, but those plans hit a snag almost immediately. Newton was injured in Week 3 of the preseason, and played in only two regular-season games before he was shut down. The Panthers finished the year 5-11. Olsen expressed his frustration a number of times throughout the season.
Despite the Panthers’ awful finish, Olsen expressed nothing but gratitude for the nine seasons he spent in Carolina. No matter what Olsen decides in the offseason, he has nothing left to prove to Panthers fans.
They already consider him a franchise legend.
Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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