On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers and Greg Olsen announced that they have agreed to mutually part ways. The 34-year-old tight end just finished 13th NFL season, and ninth with the Panthers. As Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network explains, the Panthers can't officially release Olsen until after the Super Bowl, but this announcement means that they will. He was on the books for $11.6 million against the cap. Olsen published a statement on his Twitter page explaining his decision and he thanked the fans in Carolina.

"Today, I had the opportunity to sit down with (general manager) Marty Hurney and have a great conversation regarding my future with the organization. The team and I are both on the same page that it is best we go in different directions for now," Olsen said. "On the field, I will always cherish the nine seasons we shared together. The wins, the losses, standing at midfield holding the Halas Trophy as NFC champs. The reality of going to the Super Bowl was beyond words, as was the disappointment of falling short.

"Off the field is where my family felt the warmest embrace. In 2012, upon the news breaking regarding the challenges our son would face, the entire Carolina community wrapped their arms around us in support. My wife Kara and I will be forever grateful for the love and prayers shared with us since that time.

"Regardless of what path we choose, I will always be a Carolina Panther."

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Olsen's agent Drew Rosenhaus says his client "is still interested in playing" and that he will be in communication with other teams after the Super Bowl. Olsen has also had a few sports broadcasting guest appearances and is expected to work as a color analyst whenever he does decide to officially hang up the cleats. 

Olsen caught 52 passes for 597 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. He missed two games near the end of the season after suffering a concussion during a Week 13 loss to the Washington Redskins

Olsen ranks fifth all-time among tight ends in both catches with 718, and in yards with 8,444. He's the Panthers' all-time leading tight end in terms of receiving yards, receptions, and 100-yard receiving games. 

Originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Olsen spent the first four seasons of his NFL career in Chicago before being traded to Carolina for a third-round pick. He was a versatile offensive weapon for the Panthers, and he recorded three 1,000-yard seasons in his first six years in Carolina.

The Panthers are in the middle of a big transition, as they have a new head coach in Matt Rhule, face a big question at the quarterback position and lose two leaders on both sides of the ball. Olsen's announcement comes just a few weeks after Luke Kuechly announced his retirement from the NFL at age 28.