Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen received a huge honor this week, when he was named as the team’s Walter Payton Man of The Year nominee.
On Sunday against the Vikings, Olsen’s honors continued when he was introduced last as the team ran out onto the field, something reserved for whoever on the team gets the nomination for the prestigious award.
But Olsen, who played his first game at Bank of America Stadium since hurting his foot in Week 2 and spending eight weeks on injured reserve, gave a crowd overjoyed to see his return a bit of a scare in the second quarter.
Olsen appeared to get his surgically repaired foot rolled up on, and had to leave the game for several snaps to get an extra layer of tape.
“Got rolled up pretty good there, not ideal,” said Olsen after the game. “But it’s doing all right. Better than I was, so I’ll take it.”
Olsen played a majority of the offensive snaps, which he was expecting, but was only targeted once and the pass was incomplete. It was the first time since 2011 that Olsen has been active and not recorded a catch in a game.
Head coach Ron Rivera said the team wants to work Olsen back into the passing game in the coming weeks.
“He’s too valuable a weapon for us not to use,” he said. “As we gain more and more confidence in him being back, his role will expand.”
Olsen expected as much, too.
“I never expected to just come in and get 12 looks,” said Olsen. “It’s just not realistic. I haven’t played in awhile, so a lot of it is just kind of finding your way out there and I think each week as I kind of get my legs under me and get back going a little bit, I think we’ll find that rhythm again.