A moment of silence for the Carolina Panthers fans who respectfully “lost” their star linebacker to retirement on January 14th, 2020.
The Carolina Panthers tweeted a 3-minute video at 8:30PM of Luke Kuechly that shocked not only Panther fans, but football fans and players everywhere. Within minutes fans replied acknowledging their sadness and respect.
First a new head coach, a new brand, and now this! It’s a strange time for grieving Panther fans, as they’re obviously going through a lot right now, but other football and sports team fans can relate.
Of course, it’s going to feel weird for a while. The Panthers truly did lose a great one. For eight years in NFL, Luke played with his heart and soul. However, there comes a time when some things must come to an end. For Kuechly it’s, unfortunately, earlier than anyone could have expected. But, that’s 8 years of constant physical contact which is hard on the body. Now, it’s time for Kuechly to heal his body while everyone around him only supports his decision and heals with him.
Grieving is a process, just like getting over a terrible loss in season that keeps you from the playoffs. It’s something you try to forget but never really do. It takes time.
Disconnect, But Know That Kuechly Could Still Be Around
Throw your phone in the nearest large body of water. Don’t actually do that, but it won’t help to be on social media reading every article on Kuechly’s retirement. You have already seen the news. Now it’s time to process it and let the emotions funnel out without sending the regretful text or taking it out on strangers over a Tweet.
I know it’s devastating, but if it accounts for anything, Kuechly did hint in his announcement at what might be next. Maybe writing a book, becoming a coach, or an analyst:
“Sitting right now in the linebackers room and the amount of memories I’ve had in this room alone could fill a book.”
Kuechly also made it visibly and verbally clear how hard this is for him, but he still wants to be involved in some way.
Indulge in Comfort Food
You now have a very valid excuse to eat however many calories you want without being judged for it. You are grieving and you need those 6 or 12 chocolate chip cookies and McDonald’s Big Mac to comfort you. Go ahead, go for it. Buffalo chicken dip is also an easy-to-make to indulge all your emotions into. Really, anything that is greasy and considered bad for you just might do that trick. You deserve it for being a loyal fan all of these years.
Ignore the Taunting
And cue the annoying texts from your friends trying to light your fire. It doesn’t matter how great of an athlete or person Luke Kueckly was, you’re going to have ignorant fans from other teams putting their two sense in. Ignore them or consider going to the extent of blocking them. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their lives anyway. Engage in activities that may give you peace of mind instead of making you lose it.
Don’t Drink the Entire Bottle
Or do it. But really, a glass or two of wine might help relax your mind and body after hearing the tragic news instead of bursting out with anger and sadness. However, the entire bottle is not necessary because a hangover in the midst of grieving might make the day a lot worse.
You can even use this time as an excuse to have a guy’s night out or wine night with the girls to discuss the future of the Carolina Panthers and get through it together.
Talk to Other Fans
When you are ready, talk to others about it. After a few hours, days, or months of accepting that Kuechly won’t be running out of that tunnel in full uniform, talk about it with other fans who feel the same way. If you are going to suffer, it’s better to endure it with others. The saddest music always helps too. And when things get better, consider playing Kuechly’s pump-up playlist on Spotify to remember the good times.
It could also be a good idea to join the Luke Kuechly Facebook page to keep up with his life after the NFL and connect with other fans.
Stay Positive, Life Isn’t Over
It’s only going to feel like the end of the world for a little bit, but you know the saying—don’t let a little rain ruin your parade. Be optimistic. Who is going to replace Luke Keuchly? This could be fun! A new beginning, a new era. Kuechly said in his announcement he isn’t worried about the new staff or Shaq Thompson leading the linebackers.
Most importantly, don’t give up on the Panthers. Nobody needs you more than that team right now for the fresh start of the 2020 season. And you never know where you could see Kuechly next.
With 1,092 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 75 tackles for loss, Luke Kuechly will go down in NFL history as one of the greatest linebackers of all time. On behalf of all the fans and teammates grieving tonight over the loss of a good one, thank you for being you, Luke. And fans—keep pounding.