Panthers starting offensive tackle Jordan Gross is expected to announce his retirement in the wake of his third Pro Bowl appearance, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Gross, 33, played 11 seasons and amassed a team-record 167 starts with the Panthers after being drafted out of Utah in 2003. His retirement will leave the Panthers searching for a new left tackle to protect Cam Newton's blind side.
Gross reportedly planned to play in 2014 but his restructured contract automatically voided this month, making him a free agent. Person points out that his final NFL snap came in the Pro Bowl when Panthers teammate Mike Tolbert rushed for a 2-point conversion to give Team Rice, led by Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, a 22-21 win over Team Sanders.
Perhaps looking ahead to his possible retirement, Gross reflected on what he described as a fulfilling career during the Pro Bowl week. From the Charlotte Observer:
"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 reportedly would like to stay in the Panthers organization in some capacity, although the Charlotte Observer reported he would not want to coach.