Greg Olsen calls his shot – again

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Because he always seems to say the right things, you may not think of tight end Greg Olsen as a guy who cares about stats. But even the most team-first guys don't play at a Pro Bowl level, or get to this level, without a good dose of self-awareness.  

And Olsen's fully aware of what he's accomplished in his 10-plus seasons.  

Not only has he completely rewritten Carolina's record books, but in 2016, Olsen became the first tight end to string together three consecutive 1,000-yard years. Which explains the hat he had on Tuesday.  

Custom-made by one of Olsen's sponsors, New Era, the front logo featured a "1" embroidered into a "K." And on the side, three marks representing his past three seasons.  

"I think it's the one individual statistic or whatever you want to call it that kind of sums up the way I've always tried to approach my career. Be productive but be productive consistently. Be durable. Play every game," Olsen said. "There's a lot of guys that are productive for a four- or five-game stretch and then sit a few out and come back. Or guys have a great one year and fall off, and then everyone's like, 'Can you have a bounce back?' I never want that to be me. 

"That's something I've always prided myself on is not only can you be highly productive, but can you be highly productive continuously?" 

Since his trade to Carolina in 2011, Olsen ranks third among tight ends in both receptions and receiving yards. That production, plus his availability – Olsen hasn't missed a game since Week 2 of his rookie season – is why he argued this offseason for a contract extension.

Heading into his age-32 season, Olsen's isn't yet showing signs of slowing down. But it's fair to wonder if the addition of a guy like first-round hybrid Christian McCaffrey will start cutting into Olsen's numbers.  

"I've been the first one to say, the more good guys out there running around, the better it is for everybody," Olsen said.  

Since they both came to Carolina in 2011, quarterback 's favorite target has easily been Olsen, who's been on the receiving end of nearly one-quarter of Newton's career completions. But every season seems to bring at least one stretch when opponents take the Olsen option away.  

The multifaceted McCaffrey could help minimize those quieter times.   

"He's a guy who is going to attract attention," Olsen said. "If running backs don't garner much attention, those second-level linebackers and safeties tend to get deep. That makes it hard for guys like me and (Devin Funchess) and Kelvin (Benjamin). The deeper (defenders) get, there's not a lot of space. 

"(McCaffrey) catches a few of those balls out the backfield and those guys have to come up and tackle him, well, next time they're going to play a little closer and try to close some of that space in. Then it opens up things."  

That's why Olsen believes he can get a fourth mark on his hat. And he's not afraid to call his shot.  

"When we talked about it this time last year, trying to be the first guy to get three, I wasn't shy about it," Olsen recalled. "It's something that I wanted to do and was able to do, and I'm going to try to do it again." 

"I think it's the one individual statistic or whatever you want to call it that kind of sums up the way I've always tried to approach my career. Be productive but be productive consistently. Be durable. Play every game," Olsen said. "There's a lot of guys that are productive for a four- or five-game stretch and then sit a few out and come back. Or guys have a great one year and fall off, and then everyone's like, 'Can you have a bounce back?' I never want that to be me. 

"That's something I've always prided myself on is not only can you be highly productive, but can you be highly productive continuously?"

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