Gross' streak still in jeopardy after concussion

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jordan Gross has started every game for the Carolina Panthers since he was drafted. Now the streak is in jeopardy as he recovers from a concussion.

Gross and Jeff Otah were held out of Thursday's workout, increasing the likelihood that the Panthers will have a patchwork offensive line this weekend when they play host to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gross' streak covers 84 games over eight seasons.

In his first interview since he was knocked unconscious during last week's win against Atlanta, Gross acknowledged the streak matters to him because "it's something you're proud of."

Since he was injured, he hasn't done much except watch practice.

"Since I've been here the offensive line, or me in general, has been a saint or whipping boy, depending on how the game's gone," Gross said. "And the one thing that's been consistent is I've always been out there playing. So, I've got my fingers crossed. We'll see what happens."

In order to be cleared to play he said he first has to clear a number of hurdles -- a list that includes running, jogging and lifting weights -- and pass concussion tests. He plans to begin jogging Friday.

Coach John Fox hasn't ruled out either player for Sunday, saying they're both "day-to-day."

On the play before the injury, Gross said he got kicked in the head by Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking after a delivering a cut block, which left his vision a little blurry. On the next play, Gross took another knee in the head, this time from linebacker Michael Boley.

He wound up on the ground face down for several minutes.

"My memory's been good. My vision was the worst thing," Gross said. "Everything was real blurry. It wasn't like I blacked out for the whole game. When I woke up I thought (I was out) for just a few seconds, but it was actually for three, four minutes."

Gross figured something was wrong when he saw team doctor Patrick O'Connor and the trainers hovering over him.

"I think it was just the perfect shot, hit me in the right spot, just put me to sleep," Gross said. "It was nothing dirty, wasn't done by anybody, just a fluke deal. I've had a lot of snaps and nothing like that has ever happened."

After the injury, Gross said he waved off a stretcher and elected to go off on a cart. He chuckled as he talked about giving the crowd several fist pumps as he was carted off the field.

"It's kind of cheesy, but I did it just to let everybody know I'm fine," Gross said. "(But) when I went into the tunnel after that, though, and about passed out again, I was so dizzy from holding my fist up. I had to get the team going, I guess."

If Gross doesn't play, the Panthers have two options -- giving Frank Omiyale his first NFL start, or moving Travelle Wharton to left tackle and starting Geoff Hangartner at left guard.

Jeremy Bridges likely will fill in for Otah if he can't go.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.