Jordan Gross: I didn’t want to leave until I knew the team was in a good place

AP

Panthers tackle Jordan Gross will formally announce his retirement at a press conference on Wednesday, but with word already out he issued a statement through the team about the decision.

Gross said he’s seen enough players reach the end of their careers over the years to know that not everyone gets a chance to do it their way or in good physical condition. Gross said he got the ending he’s looking for personally — “happy, healthy and thinking fondly about my experience” — and in terms of where the Panthers are as an organization.

“I didn’t want to leave until I felt the team was back in a good position for sustained success,” Gross said. “The team is there now. There is good, young leadership; there are talented players; and there are guys that really want to work hard and want to win.”

Building on their 2013 success will take a strong replacement for Gross. Free agency and a deep group of tackles in the draft offer the Panthers options in how to proceed and making the right choice has shot up to the top of the list of General Manager Dave Gettleman’s priorities this offseason.