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G/C Hangartner joins Panthers retirement line

The SportsXchange

The Charlotte Panthers lost another longtime blocker to retirement after veteran guard/center Geoff Hangartner told the Charlotte Observer on Tuesday he is retiring after nine NFL seasons.

Hangartner follows the retirement announcement on Feb. 25 of Pro Bowl left tackle Jordan Gross after 11 seasons with the Panthers.

Hangartner, a fifth-round pick, was out of work last season when the call came to rejoin his friends Gross, guard Travelle Wharton and center Ryan Kalil.

"I've known for a while I was going to retire," Hangartner told the Observer. "I knew when I came back this was going to be my last year. It was a good way for me to end because I got to come back and play for a team I loved playing for and finish out with my buddies. Luckily we had some success, which made it even more fun. It was a fitting way for me to end my career."

Hangartner started 85 games in his career -- including a stint when he left the Panthers to sign with the Buffalo Bills.

Hangartner, who turns 32 this month, was cut by the Panthers last August before returning in November after a number of injuries to their guards.

Hangartner said he mostly will remember his friends and the good times he had in the NFL.

"I had a great experience in the NFL," he said. "A lot of guys don't have as much fun as I did playing,

"I probably could have played another year or two and scratched around, (as a) seventh (line)man somewhere. I just wanted to remember my experience the way it was."

Gross, 33, spent his entire career with the Panthers. He started a franchise-record 167 games. He reached the Super Bowl in his rookie season with the team in 2003 and was named to three Pro Bowls, including the 2014 game.
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