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Carolina Panthers lineman Travelle Wharton unsure about his NFL future

For most of their time with the Carolina Panthers, offensive linemen and neighbors Travelle Wharton and Jordan Gross commuted to and from the stadium together during the season.

Now that he’s losing his carpool companion – Gross had a retirement news conference Wednesday – might Wharton retire, too?

“I don’t know what I’m going to do at this point. Still trying to figure it out,” Wharton said. “Really taking inventory on my body, my mind, and just making sure it’s the right deal for me.”

Wharton, 32, said last season was rewarding for him after he missed the 2012 season with a knee injury in Cincinnati. Wharton played in all 16 games, with 12 starts at left guard, after re-signing with the Panthers in August.

Wharton, the Panthers’ third-round pick in 2004 from South Carolina, has taken all of his regular-season snaps with Carolina (he was injured in the Bengals’ first preseason game in 2012). Panthers coach Ron Rivera mentioned Wharton as a possible successor to Gross at left tackle, although that scenario seems unlikely.

“I love it here in Charlotte. This is where we want to live,” Wharton said. “If there’s going to be a next year, we have to sit down and talk about it.”

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