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With Seahawks, Greg Olsen found 'perfect opportunity'

Though what's predicted to be an equally historic and chaotic free-agency period still awaits the NFL, tight end Greg Olsen has already parted ways with the Carolina Panthers after nine seasons and found his way to the Seattle Seahawks.

Olsen also had visits with the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills, each of them seemingly solid fits for the three-time Pro Bowler.

It might well be, however, that Olsen found a perfect fit with the Seahawks. That's how he sees it, anyhow.

"Obviously the football part was a no-brainer, but [my representatives and family] said, we were looking for the perfect opportunity and we weren't looking to force anything," Olsen said Thursday in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle. "Between the fan base and the city and obviously the sustained success they've had on the field and then you factor in the coach and the quarterback and there's not a whole lot that they're missing and that was really appealing to me."

In the aftermath of a disappointing season for Olsen individually and the Panthers as a whole, the sides agreed to part. Olsen's final campaign in Carolina saw him miss two games, tally 597 receiving yards on 52 catches and find the end zone just twice during a 5-11 Panthers season.

The departure of Olsen from Carolina was one of myriad significant changes for the Panthers franchise, including the firing of longtime coach Ron Rivera, who now helms the Washington Redskins, and the retirement of linebacker extraordinaire Luke Kuechly.

And so Olsen set out with his ambitions sky-high as he searched for perfect.

"All along, we set out and I said it's going to take the perfect situation and what that was at the time is kind of hard to predict," he said. "I had a handful of boxes in my head I wanted to be checked and I didn't know if that situation I had in my mind existed ... I asked every question you could come up with (to head coaches and general managers) and the Seattle situation from top to bottom just checked every box for me."

Perhaps the largest factor was the time behind Olsen that he spent with Cam Newton.

A former NFL Most Valuable Player whose future remains unsteady in Carolina despite the organization announcing its commitment to him, Newton's aim was seemingly always true when he targeted Olsen. At their best together, Newton connected with Olsen to form a terrific tandem, as the latter tallied three consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns from 2014-16.

Now, Olsen finds himself primed to provide a target over the middle for one of the game's best at the moment -- Seahawks signal-caller Russell Wilson. And Wilson could very well have been the most appealing aspect of the Seahawks' allure.

"I've been real fortunate the last nine years to play with someone like Cam and now to be able to transition to somebody like Russ is a really unique opportunity. They share a lot of similar characteristics," Olsen said. "Obviously Russ, his mobility and movement and his ability to keep plays alive, no play is ever dead. He's a rare and special talent, as was Cam."

The 35-year-old tight end is now poised for the Pacific Northwest. The Seahawks will be Olsen's third team, with Seattle clocking in as the third time zone of his career. Perhaps he'll be able to rekindle some of his past success with Wilson and remind fans of the highlights of the past with him and Newton.

"I'm excited to get into that offense and show them what I've done, but also, I've told them, I'm really open minded to learning what they've done," he said. "I don't pretend to have all the answers. I'm eager to go in there and learn new things and learn the way they want to operate as an offense and kind of mold my game into what fits for them and I'm excited for that process to start."

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