Eleven-year offensive tackle will announce his retirement from the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday after spending 11 years with the team, the Charlotte Observer is reporting.
The Panthers later confirmed Gross' Wednesday press conference.
Gross, 33, made three Pro Bowls with the only team he played for, and he was able to cap off his career by blocking for teammate Mike Tolbert on a two-point conversion in this year's game in Hawaii, which was coached by Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and his staff.
Rivera was asked about what Gross' potential loss this past weekend at the NFL scouting combine.
"It's going to be a big hole," Rivera said. "... If he doesn't come back, it's a big hole. We've got to find out which of our young guys is going to step up. Are they the answer? Or do we have to go out in free agency and find the answer or in the draft? We're all kind of hinging on what's going to happen. It'll be interesting."
Panthers GM Dave Gettleman several times this weekend referred to the Panthers as being "cap-challenged," and Gross' retirement — as well as a few bookkeeping moves — will ease that problem a bit. But it also doesn't solve the problem of who might take Gross' place, with clear replacement other than 2012 college free agent Nate Chandler (who started eight games last season) currently on the roster.
Gross originally planned to play through the 2014 season when he helped the team out by redoing his contract last offseason. But Gross said he only would play for the Panthers, and with his contract set to automatically void, Gross decided to call it a career.
The Panthers have a big void to fill — in the locker room, where he was a respected veteran, and on the field.
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