CHARLOTTE – Linebacker Luke Kuechly, arguably the simplest linebacker within the NFL since he was a first-round pick in 2012, is retiring.
“I think now’s the proper chance on behalf of me to maneuver on,” Kuechly said. “It makes me sad because I really like playing this game, I’ve played it since I used to be a child. It’s my favorite thing within the world to try to to. The memories I even have from this place and this organization and being on the sector with these guys – they’ll never get away.
“In my heart, I do know it is the right thing to do… There are just one thanks to playing this game since I used to be a touch kid – play fast, play physical and play strong. And at now I do not know if I’m ready to do this anymore.”
The 28-year-old tackling machine and therefore the face of the Panthers defense just finished his eighth NFL season. Unquestionably, he’s one among the simplest players to ever wear a Carolina uniform and one among the best linebackers the sport has ever seen.
“Beyond his extraordinary performance on the sector, Luke has had an incredible impact on this organization and region,” owner David Tepper said. “In my two seasons with Luke, I quickly recognized how special of an individual he’s. The respect he gives and garners from others also because the positive impact he has on his peers is second to none. It’s obviously getting to be very difficult for all folks because we all know that no player can replace what he’s been for this organization for the last eight years. His presence cannot be replicated.”
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
Kuechly’s resume includes seven Pro Bowl nods, seven AP All-Pro selections with five on the primary team, the Defensive Player of the Year award (2013) and therefore the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award (2012).
He finishes his career with 1,092 tackles, the foremost within the NFL since he entered the league. His 18 interceptions are most by a linebacker since 2012 and third-most in franchise history. His 75 tackles for loss are tied for fifth among linebackers over that span.
He was a part of three teams that claimed the NFC South title (2013-15), and he helped get the Panthers to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history in 2015. He returned an interception back for a touchdown within the divisional matchup against Seattle and therefore the conference championship game versus Arizona — two plays which will forever sleep in Panthers lore.
“While I wish we could have him for several more years, he has done everything the proper way and that we respect the choice that he’s made,” Tepper said. “Luke may be a once-in-a-generation player and someone we would like every member of this organization to emulate.”