Who is Steve Smith’s best ever Panthers’ teammate?
Who is Steve Smith’s best ever teammate during his time with the Carolina Panthers?
Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith had a glittering career with the franchise. He emerged from relative obscurity to become of the most talented and competitive players that have ever played the position.
Although Smith never managed to attain an elusive Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers. This doesn’t detract from just what an impact he made with the franchise. His achievements will surely result in a Pro Football Hall of Fame selection in the not-too-distant future, which will be the crowning jewel regarding his greatness.
Smith had the privilege of working with some incredible players during his time in Carolina. He was recently asked by NFL.com to pick his top-five teammates of all-time. And he had a former Panther at No. 1.
When probed with the question, Smith eventually put perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jordan Gross at the top of the standings. When asked about the player, the wideout could not have been more glowing about his contribution.
"“I played with Gross longer than anyone else in my football career — 13 years, if you go back to our days at Utah. Our friendship was an unlikely one, with him being from rural Idaho and me being a city kid from Los Angeles, but the bond was always there. The latest milestone we crossed together was when we entered the Panthers’ Hall of Honor last October. When all was said and done regarding his career, Gross was one of the best and most consistent linemen, making 167 starts and earning one All-Pro and three Pro Bowl selections. He was a staple for the organization, and I’m convinced our offense wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without him. I’m honored to have my number retired alongside his.”"
The likes of Greg Olsen, Julius Peppers, Muhsin Muhammad, and Ricky Proehl were other former Panthers that made the list. But Smith enjoyed a decade of success with Gross protecting the blindside and there is little doubt the player is deserving of such recognition.
What did Jordan Gross bring to the Carolina Panthers?
Jordan Gross had literally everything one is looking for in a premier left tackle. He was quick-footed, had incredible hand placement, and played with a controlled aggressiveness that set him apart from others across the league.
His exploits on the Panthers’ offensive line resulted in just one first-team All-Pro selection in 2008. Gross also managed to secure three Pro Bowl trips during a hugely prolific career that has seen him go down in Carolina folklore.
What the Panthers would do for a left tackle of Gross’ quality on their current roster. Russell Okung was brought in via trade this offseason in exchange for standout guard Trai Turner. But it appears unlikely his time with the organization is going to be anything more than a one-year arrangement.
There is the chance Greg Little can become the long-term option at the position. But if they want to maximize Teddy Bridgewater’s efficiency under center it might be prudent to explore a big-name free agent signing when more funds become available in 2021.
Gross was as dominant a player as you’re ever likely to see. And his rapport with Smith is something that is obviously still remembered fondly by the wide receiver.