SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Over the course of his first seven years in the NFL, tight end Greg Olsen had never eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards.
Now he's coming off back-to-back years over 1,000 and is on the verge of history in his 10th season.
If Olsen gets to 1,000 yards in 2016, he'll be the first tight end to have ever done it three consecutive seasons. New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is in the same boat.
As a student of the game and its history, Olsen is well aware of the special opportunity in front of him.
"The simple answer is yeah, I would love to be the first guy," Olsen said. "I'm trying like hell, trust me. It's not something that I take lightly, and it's not something that is just going to happen because it happened the last two years.
"A lot of things need to go my way – I need to stay healthy, I need opportunities, the offense needs to click."
Tight ends have never been more involved in the passing game as they are now. But what makes Olsen's production so impressive is the fact that he's counted on to do much more than catch passes.
"The No. 1 thing that I'm most proud of in my career is the amount of plays that I play," said Olsen, who hardly ever comes off the field. "That and my consecutive games (streak) I'll take over the catches and the yards. I think that speaks to a different level of preparation and ability to play day in and day out. Then of course production is what we're all judged on."
And Olsen's production speaks for itself.
"I've tried to build my career by doing things consistently every day, year after year," he said. "(Three straight 1,000-yard seasons) would be a great testament, because a lot of things go into having three years like that."