Gross gets his getaway with Kalil after all

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross will get that "romantic getaway" in Hawaii with center Ryan Kalil after all.

Gross was added to the Pro Bowl roster after San Francisco tackle Joe Staley withdrew with an injury. He hopped on a plane with his family on Tuesday for Hawaii, where Sunday's annual all-star game will be played.

It will be Gross' third trip to the Pro Bowl, and possibly his last depending on whether the Panthers opt to re-sign him or he opts to retire. As of Tuesday, he still hadn't had conversations with the team regarding his future.

As I made clear my opinion last week, the Panthers need to bring Gross back for his leadership as well as his talent.

Gross, 33, initially was invited to go to the Pro Bowl with Kalil as a guest, but said he couldn't justify going on a "romantic getaway and leave my family at home."

Now he gets the getaway and the family gets a vacation.

Carolina now will have seven players in Hawaii, tying the team record set in 1996. The others are Kalil, quarterback Cam Newton, fullback Mike Tolbert, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, defensive end Greg Hardy and long snapper J.J. Jansen.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera and his staff are there to coach the Jerry Rice team. The Indianapolis staff will coach the Deion Sanders team.

The event's first-ever live draft will be held Tuesday and Wednesday night. The results from Tuesday's draft will be announced at the beginning of Wednesday's live three-hour show beginning at 8 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

Twenty-two players -- guards, centers, fullbacks, interior defensive linemen, punters and special teamers -- will be selected on Tuesday.

Remaining players will be drafted or assigned during Wednesday night's show. Each team will get three tackles, two tight ends, three quarterbacks, three running backs, three outside linebackers, two inside linebackers, four cornerbacks, three safeties, three defensive ends, one placekicker and one returner.

So there's a chance Carolina could have Kuechly or Hardy sacking Newton.

Or for Gross, he could be asked to block team sack leader Hardy.

So it won't all be romantic.