- Associated Press - Sunday, September 17, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Greg Olsen figures it was a good run that appears over due to a major injury.

X-rays on Sunday revealed the Panthers three-time Pro Bowl tight end suffered a broken right foot in Carolina’s 9-3 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday and is expected to miss significant playing time.

Olsen has never missed a game due to injury during his previous 10 NFL seasons.

“I haven’t missed a game in a long time, so on one hand it sucks, but on one hand I am very thankful that I have been as lucky as I have been,” said Olsen, who was in a walking boot after the game. “A lot of guys have dealt with a lot more stuff than I have throughout their careers. … Unfortunately it looks like (that streak) is going to have to come to an end.”

He felt “something pop” in his foot in the first half while running a route. He tried to go back in but knew something was wrong.

“I didn’t touch anybody,” Olsen said. “I didn’t get hit. It’s just the way my foot went down.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he won’t know how long the 32-year-old tight end will be out until he meets with team physicians on Monday. General manager Marty Hurney said the Panthers will know more as they move forward, but wouldn’t speculate how long Olsen will be out.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton hopes Olsen might be able to return this season.

“Obviously you are tormented when something like that happens, but the optimism of it is we will still have him at some point of the year,” Newton said. “I have full faith that Ed (Dickson) is going to do his job and guys underneath him, too. And I know Greg will coach those guys up.”

The injury could cost Olsen some money. The Panthers restructured his deal this offseason and were ready to pay him an additional $2 million if he reached certain incentives.

More importantly, the Panthers will need to find a way to replace Olsen’s productivity. Olsen last year became the first NFL tight end to post three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons.

The Panthers are expected to lean more heavily on rookie running back Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield.

Ed Dickson, who already sees significant time as a blocker because the team doesn’t have a true fullback on the roster, and third-string tight end Chris Manhertz could also see more action.

Panthers wide receiver Russell Shepard said it is a huge loss for the Panthers (2-0).

“He has 3,000 yards over the last three years, so that goes somewhere,” Shepard said. “Offensively we need to make up for it. We need to come together. We need some more production from our receivers and tight ends.”

Olsen said he’s disappointed, but trying to stay positive.

“I have always prided myself on being out there and playing,” Olsen said. “Sometimes things are out of your control.”

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For more NFL coverage: pro32.ap.org and twitter.com/AP_NFL


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