CHARLOTTE – Tight end Greg Olsen did some light work on the field with the athletic training staff Monday – an important first step with him eligible to return to practice this week.
"It was good. We didn't do much, just went outside and moved around a little bit," said Olsen, who broke his foot against the Bills in Week 2. "In the next couple weeks we'll just kind of progress based on how it feels and how it responds. So far we're feeling pretty positive about what we've been able to do while also understanding that regardless if I feel great tomorrow, I can't play for almost four weeks anyway. It gives us a lot of time to be patient."
Patience remains the operative word for Olsen and all those eager to see him back in action. Being eligible to practice and actually being ready to practice are two different things.
"Before he does anything with the us as coaches, he's got to be able to go out and show the trainers that he's ready to start taking steps – literally," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We'll see how each day is. It will be about going out and doing what he does and then how he reacts the next morning – the most important thing will be the next day. But I'm pretty excited."
Said Olsen: "There are going to be steps in the progression back. This isn't one of those things that just because the rules dictate it that I'm going to jump right back into practice. I don't think that's anything we're looking to do in a matter of days. It will be a gradual thing over the next couple weeks with the idea being ready to play against the Jets (on November 26)."
Olsen, who hadn't missed a game since his rookie season in 2007 before breaking his foot, can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He's doing everything he can to return to practice – and eventually games – as soon as possible.
"Whatever they allow me to do – take it right up to that point, do everything possible right up until where they say, 'OK, you can't do that, back it down,'" Olsen said.
"I'm obviously anxious to get back. This is kind of unchartered waters for me in my career. But I am ready to get back and feel like I'm part of the team again and be part of the process of trying to win each week. That's something that I miss. I'll get back out there as soon as I can. We still have time on our side right now."