Carolina Panthers fans were in for the shock Tuesday evening upon hearing the news that veteran linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement from the NFL after eight remarkable seasons. In a three-and-a-half minute video, the 28-year-old said it was “the right thing to do.”
“I think now is the right chance for me to move on,” Kuechly said. “It makes me sad because I love playing this game, I’ve played it since I was a kid. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys – they’ll never go away.
“In my heart I know it’s the right thing to do… There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid – play fast, play physical and play strong. And at this point I don’t know if I am able to do that anymore.”
Kuechly calls it quit on a storied career that comprises of 1,092 tackles, the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2012. Drafted by Carolina ninth overall, the Cincinnati native’s 18 interceptions are most by a linebacker since his rookie year and third-most in franchise history. In addition, his 75 tackles for loss are tied for fifth among linebackers over that period.
Talk about an impressive set of achievements.
NFL Players React to Kuechly’s Revelation
It didn’t take long for Kuchley’s fellow teammates and colleagues across the league to hear of his departure, and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was one of the first to congratulate his teammate on a remarkable tenure.
Other accolades soon came pouring in saluting the Boston College product, including former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera delivering a warm tribute.
In addition to potentially identifying a new quarterback for next season, looks like the Panthers have another tall order of finding a replacement for one of the star athletes in the offseason.