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February 25, 2014

Gross to retire; announcement Wednesday

By JOSEPH PERSON

jperson@charlotteobserver.com

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.

Posted by Observer Sports on February 25, 2014 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

Comments

Don't do it!!!!

Posted by: jeff | Feb 25, 2014 11:31:47 AM

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Posted by: Rel | Feb 25, 2014 11:34:49 AM

Yes....please dont Mr. Gross

Posted by: ren | Feb 25, 2014 11:35:43 AM

I am heartbroken to see Jordan go, but I'm glad he's going out on his terms (I hope) and as a Panther!! I wouldn't have wanted to see him go play for any other team, like some people who will remain nameless (Peppers). I wish his family and him all the best in their future and I hope they at least come visit us here in Charlotte, should they decide to move back west. Jordan will be missed tremendously by the fans, he is a class act; you will always be a Panther, Jordan, and we will always welcome you home with open arms. Godspeed.

Posted by: Tammy | Feb 25, 2014 11:38:53 AM

Wish you weren't retiring but since you are, THANKS for being a mber of the Panthers and for all you've done for us!'

Posted by: Lindsey | Feb 25, 2014 11:39:30 AM

FUCK ME

Posted by: PISSED | Feb 25, 2014 11:40:00 AM

Thakns jordan for all the hard work, dedication, & sacrifice. We'll miss you on Sundays

Posted by: David | Feb 25, 2014 11:40:20 AM

Gonna miss Jordan.....its gonna be weird for a long time not seeing him on the field...Thanks for all the good years..we will miss u here in #panthernation

Posted by: Calvin Firms | Feb 25, 2014 11:42:11 AM

"ive done everything but win a superbowl" so stay and win superbooowwwl! NAh go out on your own terms you deserve it.

Posted by: zac | Feb 25, 2014 11:45:22 AM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Feb 25, 2014 11:48:17 AM

Now we have to go heavy on offensive line in the draft. If the best option we have is Byron Bell, Cam's career will be short. Bell has worn out his welcome as a starter. He flat out sucks

Posted by: PantherTruth | Feb 25, 2014 11:53:35 AM

Hope the talk-show doesn't stop... I was a huge fan.

Posted by: Peyton | Feb 25, 2014 11:59:34 AM

Now that the effects of concussions and other injuries are understood more than ever before I respect and applaud his desire for self-preservation. I also thank him for his loyalty, hard work and commitment he's given to our Carolina Panthers & wish him the best in his future endeavors.

Posted by: Sandi | Feb 25, 2014 1:10:36 PM

Not only a great player but also a wonderful person. I will be so sorry to see him go!

Posted by: Joyce Foreman | Feb 25, 2014 1:17:07 PM

Thanks for everything you have done for the Panthers and all the children in the area. God Bless you and your family.

Posted by: Robert Babb | Feb 25, 2014 2:22:19 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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