Veteran offensive lineman Travelle Wharton will officially announce his retirement this week, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Wharton isn’t currently on an NFL roster, after becoming a free agent in March, but he has spent nearly the entirety of his career with the Panthers.
Wharton, 33, entered the league in 2004 as a third-round pick, and immediately became a fixture on Carolina’s offensive line. Over the course of his 10-year career, he appeared in 115 games for the club, starting 111, primarily at left guard or left tackle. Wharton becomes the second veteran Panthers lineman to retire this offseason, and is expected to join longtime teammate Jordan Gross as a regular guest on Gross’ weekly TV show on the Panthers’ new channel, according to Person.
Having played his college ball at South Carolina, Wharton was keen on remaining in the Carolina area if he continued his career, though he had been mulling retirement for most of the offseason. Based on Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), the veteran ranked fifth among guards in 2013, including third among left guards, so he won’t be easily replaced for the Panthers, who will have multiple new starters protecting Cam Newton this season.