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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Skinny and retired, former Ute Jordan Gross the talk of Carolina Panthers camp

It must be thrilling times in Carolina Panthers camp. Fresh off a trip to the playoffs, the Panthers started training this week, but many reporters have been just as interested in one of the men standing on the sidelines.

That would be former Utes offensive lineman Jordan Gross.

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Sports Illustrated's Peter King wrote about Gross for a story on Tuesday, and the hot topic is his weight - or lack thereof. Just six months removed from an unexpected retirement, Gross is down from his 305-pound playing weight to a svelte 235.

On his 6-foot-4 frame, that's a dramatic difference. King compared Gross' physical appearance to Michael Phelps, and Gross credits the transformation to eating right and running trails.

Losing that weight was a definite incentive for Gross to retire after last season:

"I could tell I was near the end and I wouldn't want to play much longer. My strength wasn't what it was. I don't believe there's really any natural 300-pound person. It was getting difficult in all phases of my job to retain strength. I decided to try to do everything I could to play one more season at the highest level I could-be healthy, lead guys, go all out to play at the highest level I could."

Gross wasn't just featured in SI - Black and Blue Review and Panthers.com also wrote up Gross' new look, as the 34-year-old former college All-American and Pro Bowler takes up a new job working as sideline reporter for a local radio station.

It might interest Utes fans to know that Gross isn't the only Utah alum making waves in camp. Last year's first-round pick, Star Lotulelei, has been strong early in camp for his actual play on the field, according to this story by the Charlotte Observer.

Of course, he's also notable for one of his new looks:

Last year he had a long, mullet-like hairstyle that drew jeers from teammates Steve Smith, Jordan Gross and DeAngelo Williams. He shaved his hair before organized team activities and said his teammates were giving him less grief about it, but the jokes have come back in Spartanburg.

Lotulelei is "trying something new this year" with a rat tail. Lotulelei's brother, Lowell, is an incoming freshman at Utah, and the two decided to grow rat tails together.

"Just me and him being bored in the summer," Lotulelei said of the origin of the idea. "I went back home and worked out, trained with my little brother. We just had a little bonding idea I guess. We'll see how it goes.

"If my mom or wife doesn't like it, then it's coming off."

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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