Silver linings have been few and far between during the Carolina Panthers' disappointing 2016 season, but the performance of tight end Greg Olsen has given them something to smile about week after week.
On Saturday, Olsen entered the NFL record books, becoming the first tight end in league history to record three straight seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards, according to the team's official Twitter account:
The record-setting play came when Olsen hauled in a 17-yard reception during the second quarter of the Panthers' game against the Atlanta Falcons.
NFL Research on Twitter provided an overview of the prestigious list Olsen now sits atop:
Although inconsistency has dogged the Panthers all season, Olsen has been a constant for an offense that has failed to flash elite form one year after Cam Newton and Co. thrashed opponents en route to an NFC title.
"He's a special man," Newton said of Olsen, according to ESPN.com's David Newton. "One thing people don't realize about Greg is his knack for understanding football. His IQ is up there. It makes my job a lot easier, especially throwing to him."
The Panthers acquired Olsen for a third-round draft pick in a July 2011 trade with the Chicago Bears, and he steadily morphed into Newton's most trusted weapon up the seam and on the outside.
After he posted 45 catches for 540 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, Olsen crossed the 800-yard threshold in each of the two following seasons.
By the time 2014 rolled around, Olsen hit his stride and reached the 1,000-yard mark for the first time.
The 31-year-old has also been targeted at least 104 times in each of the last five seasons—further reinforcing the notion he's evolved into an indispensable safety blanket for Newton.
And since he's signed through the 2018 season, per Spotrac, Olsen should continue to tout that label in the years ahead as the Panthers seek to bounce back from an underwhelming 2016 campaign and return to the postseason.