In a stunning announcement on Tuesday night, Panthers’ star linebacker Luke Kuechly is calling it quits.
In what will go down as one of the greatest, (albeit short), defensive careers in franchise history, Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the game of football. Kuechly walks away from the game at 28 years old, leaving behind a remarkable legacy and a career marked by what-ifs.
Kuechly amassed an impressive resume in his eight years in the NFL. 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. His accolades didn’t stop, with seven Pro Bowl appearances, five First-team All-Pro selections, three Butkus Awards, the 2017 Art Rooney Award and of course, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
Kuechly dealt with a myriad of concussions during his career that threatened to end his playing days well earlier and it’s possible that this decision stems from those head injuries and threat of future damage.
In a deeply emotional video, Kuechly announced his retirement via a Twitter post from the Carolina Panthers.
The retiring of Kuechly, a first-round pick in 2012, marks the official changing of the guard in Carolina. With new coach Matt Rhule taking over the reins, Kuechly represents a dying era of Panthers football. Kuechly was the face of the Panthers defense that reached the 2015 Super Bowl, providing the Ying to Cam Newton‘s Yang. Some of the greatest moments in Panthers history happened during the Newton-Kuechly era.
For fans, the retiring of Kuechly is devastating news. It only further marks the end of an era, as Rhule and new offensive coordinator Joe Brady will look to overhaul the culture and direction of the franchise.
For now, it’s time to celebrate a great career and not ponder about what comes next. Good luck in the next stage Luke, Carolina fans will miss you greatly.