Timing, teammates help Panthers’ Greg Olsen

Timing and teammates have helped Panthers tight end Greg Olsen through his newborn son’s first few days.

Olsen spent four days and nights at the hospital last week watching over his son, who was born with a heart defect that required surgery.

“It’s been a hard week but it’s been a good week. We’re fortunate for the care that he’s been able to get,” Olsen said. “He’s responded really well to the multiple procedures that they’ve done. We’re very fortunate and very blessed that he responded the way he did. The doctors and everyone have been incredible here at Levine (Children’s Hospital).”

Olsen’s wife, Kara, delivered twins on Tuesday, and TJ had his first surgery on Thursday. Olsen was able to get his mind off football for a week during the Panthers’ bye.

“I hadn’t put much thought into the game this last week or so,” he said. “And it really worked out well that it was the bye. It would have been tough yesterday having a game to prepare for all week, but I didn’t have to worry about that. It was nice to come in here today and run around and get into the swing of things.”

Several teammates, head coach Ron Rivera, offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and team founder/owner Jerry Richardson have visited the Olsens. Olsen said the outpouring from the community has been incredible – from emails to letters at his home to even a food drive.

Wide receiver Steve Smith and his wife organized the players and their significant others to supply meals each night for two months for the Olsens.

“It really is a special community,” Olsen said. “I’ve said it since the day I got here. ... In these bad times it really shows, but I knew it beforehand. This is a special group of people around here. It’s a really well-run organization. Right now we’re benefitting from it but it will be someone else some other time.”

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