The Carolina Panthers are up for a rebuild after their abysmal 2019 campaign saw them miss out on the playoffs by a considerable margin. To make matters worse for Panthers fans, Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers will have to play next season without inside linebacker Luke Kuchly after he announced his retirement from the NFL.

While the decision was one that took many by surprise, plenty of people were supportive of his decision to walk away. The running back was one of the people who thanked the linebacker for his years of dedication to the team. He also congratulated him for having such an incredible career that will put him in the Hall of Fame.

Thank you for some of the best memories both on and off the field,” McCaffrey said on his Twitter account. I’m so honored to have shared the field with not just the best player I’ve ever seen, but the best person I’ve ever met. Will always love you bro! To retirement!”

Kuelchy was a key component of the Panthers defense, notching plenty of tackles and pass deflections. Kuelchy finished this season with 144 tackles, 12 pass deflections, and two interceptions. He’s been named to the All-Pro team four times, and is due to make an appearance of this year’s Pro Bowl.

Kuechly had this to say about his retirement:

“I still want to play, but I don’t think it’s the right decision,” [Kuechly] continued, per ESPN’s David Newton. “I thought about it for a long time. Now is an opportunity to step away with what’s going on here.”

The Panthers will be hard-pressed to find a defender as good as he is.