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Panthers, TE Greg Olsen Announce They Are Parting Ways

Greg Olsen
U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Leticia Samuels
Greg Olsen and the Carolina Panthers announced they are parting ways ahead of the 2020 season.

The Panthers will lose another mainstay from their 2016 Super Bowl team as tight end Greg Olsen announced Thursday that he and the team have decided "to go in different directions."

Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, has played for the Panthers since 2011. He had three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons 2014-16, but was limited by injuries in two subsequent seasons. He had one year remaining on his contract, and was slated to earn $11.7 million.

"Today I had the opportunity to sit down with (general manager) Marty Hurney and have a great conversation regarding my future with the organization," Olsen wrote on Twitter. "The team and I are both on the same age that it is best we go in different directions for now."

Olsen joins standout linebacker Luke Kuechly in departing the team ahead of the 2020 season. Quarterback Cam Newton's future with the team also is in doubt; he has one year remaining on his contract.

Olsen, 34, has been a popular player in Charlotte and has been heavily involved in the community, his knit-cap-wearing head becoming an iconic sight at appearances and events. He established The HEARTest Yard foundation to help children with heart conditions after his own son, T.J., was born with a congential heart condition in 2012. 

In 2019, Olsen provided a $2.5 million gift to Levine Children's Hospital to help build a pediatric cardiovascular and congenital heart outpatient clinic. The HEARTest Yard Pediatric Cardiac Center is scheduled to open in 2021.

"Thank you to the fans," Olsen wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. "Panther Nation was always great to me. I heard all the cheers. I saw all the 88 jerseys. Just know I appreciate you all and you made it fun to be a Panther."

Olsen wrote that he has "not closed the door on any potential career opportunities," but he will either need to be traded or cut from the team if he intends to play.

He has long been expected to have a career in NFL broadcasting upon his retirement.