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NFL Pro-bowler Ryan Kalil Delivers Message Via Barbershop

From the official Carolina Panthers Facebook page
Ryan Kahil closed out fellow Panther Jordan Gross’ retirement press conference with a barbershop quartet performance. Happy Trails, Jordan.

Here’s the story as provided by the quartet:

Ryan Kalil called Ben Mills, the tenor of Zero Hour (2013 Carolinas District quartet champions) on Wednesday, February 19th and mentioned that he had been watching videos of the quartet online, was very impressed and would love to hire them for a special event. He first just referred to himself as “Ryan.” Before knowing who Ryan was, Ben thought that this would definitely be too short of notice to pull the entire quartet together. Ryan then mentioned that he was a football player and Ben quickly realized that it was Ryan Kalil, 4-time Pro Bowl center for the Carolina Panthers. Now he had Ben’s attention.

Ryan then mentioned that a teammate and close friend of his was going to be announcing his retirement next week and that there would be a press conference at the stadium in up-town Charlotte on Wednesday, February 26th. The official news that Jordan Gross (3-time Pro Bowl Tackle) was retiring had not been released to the media yet, and the quartet was asked to keep it a secret. Ryan and Jordan have been teammates and friends for 7-8 years and apparently had a long history of pranking each other and finding creative ways to embarrass one another. So, Ryan had an idea for one last parting shot. Ryan mentioned to Ben that he had some special lyrics to the tune of “Happy Trails” that he thought would fit well. Ben arranged the short song on Thursday, February 20th, with the new lyrics and even recorded a learning track for Ryan to work on, per Ryan’s request. Ryan asked if he could join Zero Hour at their next upcoming rehearsal on Sunday, February 23rd and they of course said that he could. Ryan showed up and rehearsed with Zero Hour for over an hour in order to get the song ready to go. Ryan had clearly listened to his learning track and was singing great.

Ryan brought the 3 members of Zero Hour that would be singing (Scot Gregg -bass, Mark Rodda – baritone, and Ben Mills – tenor) into Bank of America Stadium about 1 hour prior to the press conference and practiced again with them up in the owner’s private suite, which was another very cool part of the experience. Ryan mentioned that he had never even been invited to visit the owner’s suite! Ryan was incredibly nervous during the final run-throughs. He mentioned that he had never been so nervous, not even before an NFL playoff game.

Finally the press conference was near. Scot, Mark and Ben were staged as reporters and strategically sat in the press pool with note pads trying to appear like they belonged there. After the speeches, many of which were very emotional, Jordan Gross opened it up to the media for questions. Ben quickly stood up as instructed by Ryan, and told Jordan that he had a quote from one of his teammates and that he wanted to get his response. The rest as they say is history and on the video. Ryan was very emotional during the first part of the song and almost lost it, but he quickly recovered and finished strongly! It was a great event and Zero Hour was so happy to be a part of this special moment in Carolina Panthers history!

Below is a brief video the quartet assembled of their time with Ryan in rehearsal

Gross Farewell Practice from JLNIII on Vimeo.

Zero Hour quartet poses with retiring Carolina Panther Jordan Gross, following their impromptu performance at his retirement press conference