In a video posted on Twitter by the Carolina Panthers, linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement from the NFL. At the age of 28, the seven-time Pro Bowler and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year is retiring after just eight seasons with the Panthers.
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
Kuechly noted that retirement was a “tough decision” that he “thought about it a lot.” While he doesn’t specify exactly why he’s retiring, Kuechly expressed that it wasn’t because of new head coach Matt Rhule.
In his eight-year career, Kuechly has had a history of concussions. Kuechly suffered a concussion that resulted in missed games in three consecutive years from 2015-17. In total, Kuechly missed a total of 10 games in those three seasons. Kuechly never said the word “concussion” or discussed retiring for health related reasons in his video but after discussing how the only way to play is to play “fast, physical, and strong” that it’s possible Kuechly made the tough decision to retire while he’s still healthy.
Throughout his career, Kuechly was one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, Kuechly recorded a career high 103 solo tackles and three fumble recoveries. While he didn’t make the Pro Bowl or the All-Pro team in his rookie year, Kuechly made the Pro Bowl and was on either the All-Pro first or second team in his last seven years. Kuechly really turned it on in the 2015-16 NFL Playoffs as he returned two interceptions for touchdowns and helped lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl.
Whatever the reason, it seems like Luke Kuechly seriously thought about the decision and while retiring was a tough decision and it seemed like he still wants to play, Kuechly is content that retiring is for the best.