Former Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross’ motivation to create the first version of the rookie handbook was simple: save time and energy.
“We’d have rookies come in every year, and they’d all make the same mistakes and gripe about the same things,” Gross said in a phone interview. “It was late in the season one year and we were sick of complaints, so we decided to write a book about how to be behave, specific to the O-line room. Over the years it just kind of grew.”
Now, the notebook that was passed around the locker room has become a published work available for purchase on September 6. All-Pro center
“It was fun to do with my buddies,” Gross said. “When we say we didn’t have a ghost writer – it’s 100 percent the three of us. We spent a lot of time on it, and there’s a little bit of a vulnerable feeling putting it out there.”
There was a little bit of a vulnerable feeling critiquing each other’s work, let alone sharing it with the world.
“When we tried to write all together at one time, it was really just a train wreck,” Gross said with a laugh. “So we started a master list of topics and divided it up. It was a good learning experience about who’s got the thickest skin when your buddies are reading your work.”
The rookie writers hope their handbook helps rookies across the league. And they hope fans appreciate a unique perspective on life in the NFL.
“We were all the same way. When we were rookies, we didn’t have a clue,” Gross said. “As you get some more experience, you get to see how things really work. We hope we can save some people some trouble by knowing what to do right off the bat.
“Our goal is if a rookie read it, he would laugh and learn a few snippets of advice. And it’s for the fans to enjoy.”