Carolina Panthers

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen returns to practice after sitting a week with back spasms

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen returned to practice Tuesday. A back spasm during one of the final training camp practices had sidelined him for about week.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen returned to practice Tuesday. A back spasm during one of the final training camp practices had sidelined him for about week. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen found himself in an unusual spot last weekend - on the couch in Charlotte while his teammates were in Nashville, Tenn., for an exhibition against the Titans.

Olsen has been something of an Ironman among tight ends since entering the NFL 10 years ago. But a back spasm during one of the final training camp practices sidelined him for about a week and forced him to miss the 26-16 win at Tennessee last weekend.

“If this was the regular season, I think we could’ve made it happen last weekend,” Olsen said. “But there was no need to do that. There’s not a lot of concern going forward.”

Olsen returned Tuesday morning during the full-pads practice. He went through individual drills and caught passes, but coaches pulled him out when Olsen lined up to run block with the first-team offense.

“We’re trying to be smart with that to make sure we don’t have a recurrence of that,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “Greg got out and got a lot of good work in.”

Olsen has played in 142 consecutive regular-season games, the second-longest streak among active tight ends behind Dallas’ Jason Witten (203). He’s not accustomed to sitting out.

“It was a weird feeling not going to the game and sitting home watching it,” Olsen said. “Even though it was a preseason game, it was kind of a different feeling. I haven’t missed many road trips, but it happens.”

Backup tight end Ed Dickson remains out with a groin injury, but indicated this week he’s close to returning. As for Olsen, the two-time Pro Bowler says he’s feeling strong.

“It’s coming along. I’ve made a lot of progress over the last couple of days,” he said. “Good to get back out here and start working back into practice.”

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