With his future in doubt, during a whirlwind 24 hours, tight end Greg Olsen mostly sat in a dorm room at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, home of the Bears training camp.
“It was weird, because you’re sitting around your dorm, with nothing to do, and you don’t know what’s going on,” Olsen told the Sun-Times in a short interview Thursday night. “But I’m glad I can move on and go forward.”
On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers traded a third-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft to the Bears for Olsen then agreed to terms with him on a four-year extension.
Olsen didn’t expect this outcome.
On Tuesday, Bears officials told his agent Drew Rosenhaus that they needed a couple days — based on all the chaos of this shortened offseason — before they could discuss a possible extension for Olsen, who was scheduled to make $900,000 in 2011.
But on Wednesday night, the Bears informed Rosenhaus that they were looking to trade him.
“It was not something that I expected,” Olsen said. “Then things transpired really fast. But, in the end, I think I’m going to a good place. There’s no doubt I’m going to miss my teammates, and the city of Chicago has been awesome to me and my family.
“But, the business side of it, this was something that – I guess – was in the Bears best interests, and then once we started down that road, there was no turning back.”
Asked if he could have played another down for the Bears, if they hadn’t found a suitable trade partner, Olsen said, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.
“We went through all that stuff last year, and I was able to put it behind me and move forward. Last year wasn’t as serious. But this year was more open and official, that this is what they wanted to do, and something we wanted to pursue. It would be hard knowing that a team didn’t want you two times, then playing through it again.”
Olsen admitted that his reduced role and opportunities last season “bothered” him.
“There’s no worse feeling then not being able to play up to your potential,” he said. “Last year, I felt like that was the case.”
Still, Olsen said he’ll be grateful for his time with the Bears.
“I always had a tremendous amount of respect for Lovie [Smith] and the Bears for selecting me with their first pick [in 2007].
But Olsen is thrilled to be headed to Carolina. He’ll reunite with former Miami teammate Jon Beason and former Miami offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
“To get back with coach Chud, and what he’s done in the past, with tight ends, is going to be huge for my development,” Olsen said, “and I’m looking forward to it.”
Specifically, Chudzinski coached two of the game’s most talented tight ends in Kellen Winslow and Antonio Gates.
Asked about his role, Olsen said, “It’s hard to say.
“But, his track record of using guys is pretty clear, and that’s encouraging. Now, it falls on my shoulders on how I perform.
“To be honest, I think it’s a way to finally get out of the restraints of what our system was, and go to a place that I feel confident is going to utilize my abilities.”