MINNEAPOLIS - Before Greg Olsen returns to the field for the first time since suffering a broken foot in September, the Carolina Panthers tight end is going to spend Sunday in a Fox broadcast booth, providing color commentary for the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams.
Olsen told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday there was never any intention to gain pregame access to either team, including attending practice or production meetings. NFL Network reported that Vikings general manager Rick Spielman asked Fox to reassign Olsen, who could return to action by a Week 14 matchup against Minnesota, but the request was denied.
“From the beginning we had no false notions that I would be in production meetings, meeting with players or coaches. We never would,” Olsen said. “I understand where everyone is coming from, but these are things we thought through.”
Fox also released a statement, which read: "We are excited for the opportunity to make this Sunday's broadcast fun and insightful with Pro Bowler Greg Olsen. We fully respect the Vikings concerns and will limit the amount of pre-game access allowed to Greg. We look forward to welcoming him in the broadcast booth and giving viewers a unique perspective this Sunday."
Olsen is preparing for his debut in the broadcast booth by studying film, much like he would do if he were playing the Vikings or Rams. He spoke last summer to Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-broadcaster Troy Aikman about calling games, and has spoken this week to Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis, whom he will join in the booth.
As soon as that game in Minnesota is over, Olsen will return to Charlotte, where he expects to return to practice with his Panthers teammates on Monday. Olsen is expected to be activated off injured reserve in time for Carolina’s game against the New York Jets on Nov. 26. He has not played since breaking his foot in Week 2.