As the end of the season approaches with a fury, it could be more than the finish of the 2019 campaign for some. It could be the end of a career or an era with a certain franchise.
For a longtime veteran like tight end Greg Olsen, every eventuality remains. He could return to Carolina in the final year of his contract. He could get cut as the organization overhauls everything. Or he could retire and head to the TV booth, which he's been prepping for the past several years.
Olsen admitted this week that these could be his final two games in Carolina.
"No one ever gets to write their ending, write their final script," Olsen said, via ESPN. "You don't know what the future holds here. There's been a lot of change. As I told you guys on the day we found out about Ron [Rivera being fired], change sometimes leads to other changes. It's hard to predict when and where that comes."
Olsen has flashes of reminding the world he was a perennial 1,000-yard tight end not too long ago, but the consistency is no longer there, and he's dealt with a plethora of injuries that have wiped out chunks of the past three seasons. Monday, he was officially cleared from concussion protocol, which caused him to miss the past two games. Is he worth an $11.8 million cap hit in 2020?
The veteran believes he can still be a productive NFL player but understands that a new coach might see the $8.1 million the team could save by cutting a 35-year-old and decide to move on.
"From that point forward is anybody's guess," Olsen said. "My intent is to make the most of these last two games, try to go out with as positive of an experience as I can if that is your last opportunity. A lot of that is out of my control."
Olsen has been very good in spot work in a TV booth, which he's done during the team's bye week the past couple seasons. If he decides to hang up the spikes, he could immediately jump to the media side of the aisle.
A lot of his decision could be determined by the team's moves in the near future.
"I still enjoy playing. I still enjoy being around the guys," Olsen said. "But sometimes the ball is not always in your court. There's a lot of things that need to shake out before I have a lot of clarity on that. And then you kind of go from there."
Before he figures out his future, Olsen will have two final games in 2019 to play.
"I try not to play the hypothetical game," Olsen said. "I have two more games that I know hypothetically I can be a part of. Past that, those things are yet to be determined on a lot of different levels a lot higher than me."