Greg Olsen may expand leadership role

At this early juncture in the offseason, two names stand out above the rest: center Ryan Kalil and tight end Greg Olsen.

Kalil is entering his eighth NFL season, all with the Panthers, behind only Davis and running back DeAngelo Williams in terms of current continuous service. He had always chosen to stay a step behind Gross when it came to taking on a leadership role but began stepping up last season, when he was a team captain for the first time (incidentally, Newton and Kuechly also were first-time captains in 2013). When the Panthers returned to Bank of America Stadium for the offseason workout program in April, three players addressed the media: Newton, Kuechly and Kalil.

Olsen is also entering his eighth NFL season, his fourth with the Panthers. Olsen, selected by the media as recipient of the 2013 Tom Berry Good Guy Award, has always been willing to impart his vast knowledge to the media and has done so more and more in the locker room as his tenure has increased. Like Kalil, Olsen is a student of the game, and it obviously doesn't hurt his credibility that he led the team in receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns last season.

On defense, it's going to be interesting to track who assumes a leadership role in the revamped secondary. Charles Godfrey was asserting himself before a season-ending injury early last season, and now the Panthers have added 20 seasons of NFL experience between safeties Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud and cornerback Antoine Cason.

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