Star left tackle Jordan Gross has played for the Carolina Panthers ever since he was a 33-year-old rookie out of Utah in 2003 (Steve Smith, by the way, also went to Utah and was a rookie around that time), and he’s been a star for the Panthers and one of their best players in franchise history. Even at the age of 33, Gross has been an absolute beast, and he was a huge part of the Panthers excellent 2013 season. Still one of the best tackles in the league, Gross followed up a solid 2012 campaign by being one of the league’s best tackles this season, and his pass protection is a thing of beauty and has been a key to Cam Newton’s success (it’s too bad the right side isn’t nearly as good as the left side composed of veterans Gross and Travelle Wharton at guard).
But despite Gross’s amazing 2013 season and the performance of the Panthers, the Associated Press’s Steve Reed reports that he isn’t sure whether or not he will continue playing or simply retire. My guess is that Gross will keep on playing, because he is an incredibly durable player, is “just” 33, is still playing at a high level, and is on a team that is great again. While I don’t know all the background details or other motivation factors, it seems to me like Gross is a guy who should continue playing football.
Reed adds that Gross doesn’t want to play for a team other than the Carolina Panthers, and that definitely doesn’t come as a surprise. He’s almost been an institution with the organization in Charlotte, and it would be weird for all parties involved if Gross played for another team. His contract expires this offseason, but I’m sure both sides can come to agreements on a one-year deal that significantly rewards Gross but also helps the Panthers still-precarious cap situation.