Sunday, June 16, 2024

Greg Olsen Treasures His First-Ever Encounter With Brian Urlacher


Greg Olsen is one of the biggest what-ifs in Chicago Bears history. By the end of the 2010 season, it felt like the young tight end was coming into his own. He had a terrific performance in the divisional round of the playoffs against Seattle. With another year of work, he might’ve been ready to ascend. Then a few months later, he was a member of the Carolina Panthers. It remains one of the most lambasted trades in recent memory.

While Olsen had his greatest years in Carolina, including three Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl appearance in 2015, he still has fond memories of his time in Chicago. In fact, he credits his time there as what built the foundation for his eventual success, not just as a player but also as a leader. A big reason for that was getting to be around several of the team’s veterans like Olin Kreutz, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Brian Urlacher. During an appearance on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Dirty Mo Media program, he talked about his rookie season and what it was like walking into that locker room for the first time. It felt so intimidating, and he wasn’t sure how to handle himself.

Then he had his first proper encounter with Urlacher, and everything changed.

This story serves as another reminder. People always talk about the freak of nature Urlacher was. Being 6’4 with his speed and strength shouldn’t have been possible. Yet it was, and he dominated the NFL for over a decade. Teammates, though, insist that what made him truly special was his leadership. The man understood how to motivate teammates and bring guys into the Bears’ culture. He was someone everybody wanted to play with.

Greg Olsen took his cues from those precious years together and tried to emulate the same type of leadership in Carolina. It isn’t a surprise that the Panthers ended up finding success most of the time he was there. All one can do is regret he didn’t get a chance to do the same in Chicago.

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