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Greg Olsen on the verge of tight end receiving yards milestone

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17: Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers catches a pass during warm ups against the New Orleans Saintsduring at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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The Panthers have had a season to forget, but tight end Greg Olsen is on the verge of making history.

Olsen is eight receiving yards away from hitting the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season, which would make him the first tight end in NFL history to do so.

And that came as a surprise to quarterback Cam Newton.

That’s pretty impressive,” Newton said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “Three back-to-back with 1,000 yards? Not Kellen Winslow? Not Gronk? Tony Gonzalez? Tony’s never got 1,000?

“Well, he’s special, man. I think one thing about Greg people don’t realize is his knack for understanding football — his IQ is up there. It makes my job a lot easier, especially throwing to him.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera also referred to Olsen’s knowledge of the game, giving part of the credit to his father Chris, a New Jersey high school coaching icon.

“Greg is a know-it-all, and by that, I mean in a really good sense,” Rivera said. “So when you grow up and you understand the structure of football, it carries over to you on the football field. Whether you’re helping your offensive teammates or your defensive teammates or special teams, he’s a tremendous fallback for a lot of people.

“When things are happening — it’s going really fast — Greg has this calming effect that he can kind of settle everybody down. He helps Cam that way. He helps everybody. He helps me every now and then, too. He has that kind of ability. Guys like that are once-in-a-career type guys.”

Olsen missed practice yesterday with a minor elbow injury, but he’s expected back on the field Saturday when the Panthers face the Falcons.