The Seattle Seahawks designated tight end Greg Olsen to return to practice from the injured reserve list on Wednesday.
Olsen ruptured the plantar fascia in his left foot in Seattle’s Thursday night victory over the Arizona Cardinals four weeks ago. The Seahawks placed Olsen on injured reserve on Nov. 23 with the expectation he would be out four-to-six weeks due to the injury.
"He's made an extraordinary recovery to get to this right now," head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday. "So we're gonna practice him during the week see what happens, see how he does."
Olsen suffered the same injury to his right foot two years ago with the Carolina Panthers. Because of the timing of the injury in December, it ended his season. However, this time around Olsen knew what to expect with the recovery process and he had more time to get back. Newly changed rules that promote greater roster flexibility helped as well as Olsen only needed to spent three weeks on the injured reserve list before being eligible to return to practice.
Carroll didn't rule out the chances he could play this weekend against the Washington Football Team and his former head coach Ron Rivera. However, he said they won't know how close he is until they see him on the practice field during the week.
"We'll see. We don't have any idea. He's been working out with the guys. We've got to see how he does on the practice field," Carroll said.
Olsen has had a stellar career after being a first round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2007. He's made the Pro Bowl three times and has twice been named as a second-team All-Pro selection during stops with the Bears and Panthers. He signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks this offseason to continue his career into its 14th season at age 35 with a new team amidst a global pandemic.
"He's the real deal," Carroll said. "He's such a great football player. He loves this game so much. He loves competing so much. I mean there is no space other than he is the top of the list in all of those character principles about who he is and what he's all about and what you can expect from him. He's amazing. I don't even know how he got well this fast. I don't have a clue how that happened but he did. He's dying to play right now. He wants to get out there. He's a perfect competitor to have on your club."
Olsen vowed that the injury would not be the end of his season with the team and has made a speedy recovery to return to the practice field.
"It's definitely inspiring, for sure, because he's had a great career," linebacker Bobby Wagner said. "It's been 14 years, anybody can just walk away and say, 'you know, I've accomplished what I need to accomplish' but to see him fight back to try to get out here and do it right i think is definitely impressive."
Olsen can practice for the next 21 days before the team needs to add him back to the full active roster. With Will Dissly, Jacob Hollister and Colby Parkinson all healthy and available, the Seahawks don't need to rush to get Olsen back on the field. In addition to Olsen, the Seahawks are close to seeing the return of running back Rashaad Penny, wide receiver Josh Gordon and cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the active roster as well.
Olsen has 23 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown in 10 games for the Seahawks this season.
Photo Credit: ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 08: Micah Hyde #23 of the Buffalo Bills tackles Greg Olsen #88 of the Seattle Seahawks during the second half at Bills Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)