Charlotte, NC, United States (4E Sports) – The Carolina Panthers announced that Pro Bowl left tackle Jordan Gross will retire after playing all of his 11 seasons with the team.
The 33-year-old Gross will discuss his decision Wednesday during a news conference at Bank of America Stadium.
Earlier, Gross told Panthers officials after the season he would either retire or return for a 12th season with the team that selected him in the first round of the 2003 draft. He let the team know his decision after a skiing trip out west.
The three-time Pro Bowler restructured his contract last season, voiding the 2014 season that would have been the final year.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said last week at the NFL combine that the team needed a decision from Gross before free agency begins next month.
“We’ve got to find out which of our young guys is going to step up,” Rivera said. “Are they the answer, or do we have to go out in free agency and find the answer, or in the draft?”
The Panthers will look to sign a free agent or use their 28th pick to sign an offensive tackle to replace Gross. Right tackle Byron Bell is the only option currently on Carolina’s roster, and he has struggled.
Gross has 167 career starts, the most in team history. He helped Carolina reach the Super Bowl as a rookie and finished his career with a trip to the Pro Bowl.