TAMPA, Fla. – Greg Olsen knew his surgically repaired foot could give out on him at any time.
That didn’t make it any easier when it did.
“We got as much out of it as we could have,” Olsen said. “Finally my foot just had enough.”
Olsen said he ruptured the plantar fascia in his right foot during Sunday’s loss at the Buccaneers, an injury he said would be “tough” to come back from this season. Lined up out wide on the second snap of the second quarter, Olsen couldn’t put any weight on the foot after taking his first step. He hobbled off and was soon carted off.
“I came out of my stance and I just knew right away what had happened,” Olsen said. “It popped pretty good on me.”
In this year’s season opener, Olsen broke the same bone in his foot that cost him nine games in 2017, but it wasn’t a complete break the second time around thanks to a screw inserted after the initial injury. That allowed him to return to the lineup after missing just three games, but he’s had to manage concerns related to the plantar fascia – the soft tissue located in the vicinity of the broken bone – for weeks.
“It was actually doing pretty good as far as the bone was concerned, but it developed some soft-tissue stuff over the course of the last six or seven weeks,” Olsen said. “Dealt with it, tried to keep it at bay as best we could, but it was just a matter of time.”
Center Ryan Kalil felt for his longtime teammate.
“It just caught up to him. He’s been dealing with this all season long,” Kalil said. “Very frustrated for him. I know how important this to him. It’s not how you want the season to end.”
The 33-year-old Olsen, in his 12th NFL season, said he hadn’t considered whether the injury could prove to be the end of not just his season, but his career.
“I try not to make rash decisions in tough times,” he said. “I feel like it’s always easy to jump to decisions when you are feeling down or frustrated. We’ll come to that. I have to get this foot put back together.
“It’s been a long time since my foot has been normal. When we started this off, we said we’d do the best that we could - I didn’t know if it was going to last one week or the whole season. We got as far as we could have asked, I guess. It’s just a tough way to end there, but that’s football.”
Olsen entered the 2017 season having just become the first tight end to ever record three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. He had played in 160 consecutive games – 10 seasons-worth of games – when he broke the foot on a non-contact play in a Week 2 victory over the Bills last season.
Since the injury, he has totaled 41 catches for 454 yards and five touchdowns in 14 regular season games.
“It’s just tough – to go 10 years and not really have anything and have one little injury now stall me for the good part of two seasons is frustrating,” Olsen said. “I can still play at a high level. It just hasn’t been in the plans.”