Panthers tight end Greg Olsen on his upcoming cameo in the Fox broadcast booth. Joe Person jperson@charlotteobserver.com
Panthers tight end Greg Olsen on his upcoming cameo in the Fox broadcast booth. Joe Person jperson@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers

Panthers’ Greg Olsen has big plans for Panthers’ bye week - and beyond

November 09, 2017 04:51 PM

UPDATED November 09, 2017 04:56 PM

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis thinks teammate Greg Olsen will be a natural when he steps into the Fox broadcast booth for a cameo appearance during the Panthers’ bye week.

“He’s going to do a tremendous job because we all know Greg Olsen loves to talk,” Davis said. “So he’s going to be good at that.”

Olsen, the Panthers’ Pro Bowl tight end, will serve as a guest analyst alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis for the Rams-Vikings game in Minnesota on Nov. 19, Fox announced Thursday.

The assignment comes three weeks before the Panthers host the Vikings, so Olsen isn’t expecting to sit in on the pre-game production meeting with Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for unlimited digital access to our website, apps, the digital newspaper and more

“I don’t know how much inside info they’re gonna give me,” Olsen said. “I don’t know how many production meetings I’ll be allowed into the stadium there in Minnesota considering we play them a few weeks later.”

Olsen becomes the third active player to work as a Fox analyst during a regular-season game, joining Matt Hasselbeck (2014) and Marcus Allen (1994).

Panthers coach Ron Rivera doesn’t have an issue with Olsen dabbling in broadcasting during the bye, assuming he doesn’t get any early retirement thoughts or provide the Vikings any bulletin-board material.

“That’ll be interesting to see. He’s just got to remember that he can’t be writing any checks that we all have to cash,” Rivera said.

Olsen, 32, grew up the son of a high school football coach in New Jersey, but has shown more interest in broadcasting as a post-playing career option.

Olsen has helped out with NFL Network’s combine coverage the past couple of years, and two summers ago he stopped by the Fox studios in Los Angeles and did a mock broadcast with Burkhardt.

“This is not something I’m looking to do in the next year or two,” Olsen said. “This is something just to continue to get experience, see what I like, see what I’m good at, what I’m not good at. Maybe I’m good at nothing. I don’t know. We’ll find out here in a couple weeks.”

Olsen said he’s watched a bunch of games this season to prepare for the role. Unfortunately for the Panthers’ offense, he’s had more time to do so.

The three-time Pro Bowler has been on injured reserve since breaking a bone in his right foot against Buffalo in Week 2.

Olsen has been working with trainers during practices the last couple of weeks. He still plans to play Nov. 26 against the Jets when he’s eligible to come off IR.

“I’m doing really well,” Olsen said. “I’ve been able to really pick up my workload this week -- running around and cutting and kind of getting back into it a little bit on the sides.”

Before he heads to Minneapolis for his announcing gig, Olsen expects to spend a lot of time training at Bank of America Stadium next week when most of his teammates are gone.

Olsen is the only tight end in NFL history to post three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Getting him back for the stretch run would be big for the NFL’s 24th-ranked passing offense, which last week saw No. 1 wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin dealt to Buffalo.

“This time of the season is when you make your future a little bit. You start winning some close games. You start pulling some games out. You start playing some big opponents in games that at the end of the year are going to come into play, with tiebreakers and seedings and all those things,” Olsen said.

“You want to keep yourselves in the hunt. ... We’re entering the fun time of year now. You can start feeling things come together. It’s nice to control your own destiny.”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson