Who says there are no more nice guys left in professional sports?
The Carolina Panthers have been trying to sign tight end Greg Olsen to a long-term deal since the end of last season. The failure to agree to a new deal led some in the organization to believe Olsen might hold out until he gets a new deal, which would have been a distraction heading into the season.
Olsen surprised Panthers management and some of his teammates by reporting on time for the start of training camp on Tuesday. After practice, he told reporters it would have been selfish for him to holdout.
Olsen said it wouldn’t have been right for him to put his contract situation above the needs of the team. He added that if he had decided to hold out, it would have caused a distraction that wouldn’t have been fair to his teammates.
“It’s not something I wanted to be a part of. It’s not who I am. I’m here. I’m ready to play. I always feel I’m ready to play. I expect to have a great season. I expect to do the things I’ve done the last couple of seasons,” Olsen said.
Last season, Olsen gained over 1,000 receiving yards for the third consecutive season, making him the first tight end in NFL history to do so. With his contract set to expire in 2018, Olsen was looking for an extension that would make him one of the top paid tight ends in the league.
Olsen admitted that he had contemplated holding out at one point, but with the team firing general manager Dave Gettleman eight days ago, and replacing him with Marty Hurney, the tight end said he did not want to add to the chaos surrounding the team.
Despite the rumors that Gettleman’s tough negotiating stance with aging veterans led to his dismissal, Olsen said he got along with the former general manager just fine. He said that while they didn’t see eye to eye on certain things, there was a mutual respect between them.