Carolina Panthers star left tackle Jordan Gross decided to hang up the spikes, and a formal announcement of his retirement is scheduled for tomorrow. Despite being 33, Gross was still one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL last season, and that’s not a hyperbolic statement at all. He rarely gives up pressure as a pass blocker, and the consistency that the All-Pro OT has shown throughout his 11-year career has been nothing short of remarkable. I mean, I can’t remember the last time when he had a season that wasn’t at least solid.
His retirement took me by surprise at first, but listening him explain his reasons for hanging up his spikes makes everything seem less surprising. Even though he was still playing at an incredibly high level and the Panthers were a top team again, he feels that his body can’t go through the grind as easily as it used to and he would rather retire on his own terms.
And as always, Gross had an interesting analogy for us to chew on, and it was an absolutely brilliant one comparing retirement to leaving a party. He told Panthers official site beat writer Max Henson, “You’d rather leave the party with everybody telling you to stay and keep having fun rather than being the last one to leave and they are shoeing you out the door.”
Best wishes to Gross in his retirement, and he is a lock for the Panthers “Ring of Honor” after spending all 11 of his successful seasons with the team.