Tue February 25, 2014
Carolina Panthers’ Jordan Gross To Retire After 11 Seasons
Panthers veteran offensive tackle Jordan Gross has decided to retire after 11 seasons, the team confirmed Tuesday.
Gross will address the media Wednesday at a press conference at Bank of America Stadium.
The Observer was the first media outlet to report the news Tuesday.
Gross, 33, spent his entire career with the Panthers, playing in the Super Bowl as a rookie on the 2003 team and making it to three Pro Bowls.
His final NFL snap came in the February Pro Bowl when Panthers teammate Mike Tolbert went in for a 2-point conversion to give the Ron Rivera-coached team the victory.
Gross had planned to play through the 2014 season. But when he agreed to restructure his contract last year to help the team with its salary cap situation, the new deal was set up to automatically void this month.
That made Gross a free agent, although he had said he would only play for the Panthers.
Gross, whose 167 starts are the most in team history, told the Observer during the Pro Bowl week he'd had a fulfilling career.
"I've been to a Super Bowl. I've been in the Pro Bowl. I've won the division. I've been 2-14. I've been carted off the field. I've been celebrated off the field," Gross said. "I've had almost everything happen to me that can happen, short of winning the Super Bowl. I feel like I'm a very content person."
Gross would like to stay in the organization in some capacity, although indicated he didn't want to coach.
Gross' retirement leaves the Panthers with a gaping hole at left tackle, and will need to explore internal and external options to find a successor to protect Cam Newton's blind side.
Byron Bell, who has struggled at times at right tackle, is really the only viable option on the roster.
The Panthers, who pick 28th in the May draft, could try to find tackles in free agency or in the draft, which boasts a deep group of tackles.
Gross had two conversations with general manager Dave Gettleman after the season. The two were scheduled to meet again last week or early this week after Gettleman finished at the scouting combine and Gross returned from Utah, where he had been vacationing with his family.
Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/02/25/4722850/carolina-panthers-jordan-gross.html#.Uwzj2IU7Sf2#storylink=cpy