Panthers win 9 of 10 while TE Greg Olsen grows his own playoff beard

jperson@charlotteobserver.comDecember 19, 2013 

Jets Panthers Football

The Carolina Panthers were 1-3 when tight end Greg Olsen (88) started growing his beard. The hot streak since has convinced him to keep it, scraggly or not.

MIKE MCCARN — AP

The Boston Red Sox tugged, pulled and rode their scraggly beards all the way to a World Series championship in the fall.

If it worked for the Sox, maybe putting the razors away will be good for the Panthers, as well.

Carolina has won nine of 10 games since tight end Greg Olsen began letting his beard grow out in early October, following a 22-6 loss to Arizona in Week 5.

“I started growing a beard, and the next thing you know we’d rallied off three, then four, then five (wins). I said, ‘Hey, I’m riding this thing out for the rest of the year,’ ” Olsen said Thursday.

“Ever since I haven’t shaved, our fortunes have turned. We were 1-3 the last time I shaved. So I’ve just been letting it roll. Every once in a while I give it a little trim so I don’t look completely ridiculous.”

Several other players, including receiver Steve Smith and a few offensive linemen, also have been letting their 5 o’clock shadows turn into beards – some with more success than others.

Left tackle Jordan Gross trimmed his beard because “it looks so bad long.”

But Gross added, “I haven’t cut my hair in a long time.”

Center Ryan Kalil said the Panthers are not trying to follow Boston’s hirsute lead.

“I think I talked (Olsen) into it just because I wanted him to have a sweet beard,” Kalil said. “We’re not the Red Sox. It’s more just a line you tell the wives so they let you grow it.”

With his shaggy hair and bushy beard, Olsen is starting to look a bit like Tom Hanks’ character in “Castaway.” Olsen said some teammates have called him a lumberjack.

“You see a lot of the other guys have kind of started growing (beards). It’s kind of a fun thing to do,” Olsen said. “You always have the playoff beards every year. We just started a little early.”

Despite his new shaggy style and the Panthers’ success, Olsen said he doesn’t plan to keep the beard during the offseason.

“I’m not a good beard (guy). This will be off the day after the season,” Olsen said. “This isn’t really my look, but I’m going with it for the better of the team. I’m more of a clean-kept guy.”

Person: 704-358-5123; Twitter: @josephperson

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