The Carolina Panthers have had a whirlwind of an offseason thus far and there was another sudden development on Tuesday. On the Panthers' official Twitter account, Luke Kuechly sent a heartfelt message to announce his retirement in the NFL.
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
Kuechly began his career with the Panthers as the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Boston College product would spend eight seasons with the organization and was considered to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL.
This past season, Kuechly tallied 144 tackles, four tackles for loss, 12 pass deflections, and two interceptions. Over his eight-year career, the veteran linebacker combined for 1,092 tackles, 75 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 18 interceptions.
Along with his numbers, the Panthers' inside linebacker made the Pro Bowl in seven of his eight seasons. In addition, Kuechly was named an All-Pro five times as an inside linebacker.
Since coming into the NFL, Kuechly has been regarded as the best inside linebacker along with Bobby Wagner. But besides being an otherworldly linebacker, Kuechly was known to be a phenomenal human-being off of the field.
Provided that, Panthers fans are distraught to see one of their cornerstones walk away from the game. At the least, Kuechly seems to be content with his decision to retire from the NFL and begin his life after football.
At just 28-years-old, Kuechly joins the long list of players who called it quits amid their prime in the NFL. Before the 2019 season, Andrew Luck shockingly announced his retirement from the NFL at 29-years-old.
Both Luck and Kuechly were first-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. Along with being in the same draft, both are creating a new wave of players that are prioritizing their health over playing football; which is good for the game.