Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announces retirement

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announces retirement

Kuechly was last officially ruled out for a concussion after he was carted off the field in tears during a Thursday night game in 2017. The memories I have from this place and organization and playing on the field with these guys...they'll never go away. Given the intense and physical nature of his game and the constant effort he made in one of the most demanding football positions, there was always the possibility that he would withdraw from the game on his terms. In the regular season game, Kuechly accumulated 1,092 tackles, 12.5 catches, 18 interceptions. His 75 tackles for loss are tied for fifth among linebackers over that span.

"It makes me sad because I love playing this game", Kuechly said".

Jameis Winston, who struggled mightily with throwing picks to linebackers this past season, will likely rejoice at the prospect of having to worry about one less stellar defender in the NFC South like Kuechly. He also helped the Panthers reach their second-ever Super Bowl appearance in 2015. His most games missed in a single season came in 2016 when he cleared concussion protocol after three games, but with just three games remaining in the season and the team out of playoff contention, the Panthers elected to keep him off the field, a decision he did not agree with at the time. "Luke is a once-in-a-generation player and someone we want every member of this organization to emulate".

"In my heart I know it's the right thing to do", Kuechly says.

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The NFL has lost another one of its stars to early retirement.

"This decision has nothing to do with new coaches and Coach Rhule", he said.

Kuechly went on to discuss his decision in what proved to be an emotional video for the All-Pro linebacker, who's just 28 years old. Kuechly entered the league in 2012 and immediately made an impact, winning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

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