Jordan Gross missed making a run at the Panthers consecutive starts record because of a concussion.
But the veteran offensive lineman has stayed healthy and effective long enough to put his name in the Panthers record book next to another mark for longevity.
When he takes the field Sunday against Dallas, Gross will tie former wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad and ex-safety Mike Minter with 141 career starts, the most in the teams 18-year history.
Gross, the left tackle in his 10th season, was unaware of the record until a reporter mentioned it Thursday.
I didnt know that. Thats cool, Gross said. Ive got more than Steve (Smith), huh?
Smith, the 12th-year wideout, is just behind Gross with 135 starts.
Gross started 84 consecutive games during his first five-plus seasons before suffering a concussion against Atlanta in 2008. He sat out the following week, missing a chance to go after Minters record of 91 consecutive starts.
But it was probably (good for) the brain to not have that record, Gross said.
Gross has missed just nine games over the past decade.
Ive been so lucky to be here, good, bad and ugly. I loved every minute of it, Gross said. Just a tribute to good fortune. Ive been hurt, but coming back healthy. Weve got good people around here, good (training) staff and commitment to being on the field.
Thats always been important to me. If I can physically play at all, I want to play.
Gross will face a tough challenge Sunday on his record-tying day. He will be among those matched up against outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, one of the leagues premiere pass-rushers.
Its always an exciting challenge when youre going against somebody you feel is probably going to be a Hall-of-Famer, Gross said. Hes a great player. Thered be nothing better than to have a great game against a great player.