Carolina Panthers helmet lays on the field prior to the start of the game against the New England Patriots at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers Geoff Hangartner retires

The Carolina Panthers lost a franchise legend and one of the NFL’s best starting left tackles when Jordan Gross announced his retirement earlier this offseason, and the Panthers are now desperate for offensive tackle help. That position could be a massive weakness going into 2014, and Cam Newton could really feel the burn of losing a tackle as reliable as Gross.

Another Panthers offensive lineman has decided to hang up his spikes today, as the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person reports that 31-year-old guard/center Geoff Hangartner has decided to retire after eight seasons in the league as a versatile top utility backup and starter at the position.

Hangartner appeared in eight games last season, and his reliability, versatility, and character will be missed by the organization. He was three seasons in to his second stint with the Panthers, as he played for the team from 2005-2008 before spending the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Buffalo Bills. The 85-game career starter played in all 16 games in a season five times in his career, and his retirement means that it’s even more important for the Panthers to re-sign top starting left guard Travelle Wharton, who was a revelation last season in his second stint with the team.

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