Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly retires at 28, calls it 'right time'

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the NFL after 8 seasons with the group.

“It is by no means the proper time to step away, however now could be the proper time for me,” Kuechly, 28, mentioned Tuesday in a video saying his choice.

Kuechly expressed doubt that he may just nonetheless play as bodily as he’d like.

“There is just one strategy to play this sport … to play speedy and play bodily and play robust. And at this level, I do not know if I am able to do this anymore,” he mentioned. “And that’s the section this is maximum tricky, is — I nonetheless wish to play, however I do not believe it is the proper choice.”

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“In my middle, I are aware of it’s the proper factor to do,” he mentioned. “It is onerous, however that is why you play this sport, to shape relationships, and if you happen to’ve shaped robust relationships, they by no means pass away.”

Kuechly suffered 3 concussions right through his occupation and used to be in tears when he used to be carted off the sphere with a concussion right through the 2016 season, The Related Press reported, however he made no connection with that during his video announcement, which used to be posted to the group’s Twitter account.

Kuechly used to be credited with 1,092 tackles, 12 sacks and 18 interceptions right through his occupation with the Panthers. He used to be decided on for the Professional Bowl seven instances and used to be NFL Defensive Rookie of the 12 months in 2012 and Defensive Participant of the 12 months in 2013. This season, he had 144 tackles and two interceptions.

The Panthers credited him with serving to to get the group to the Tremendous Bowl after the 2015 season, mentioning interceptions returned for touchdowns within the playoff sport in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks and within the NFC championship sport in opposition to the Arizona Cardinals. The Panthers misplaced Tremendous Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos.

The Panthers mentioned Kuechly used to be one of the most very best linebackers the sport has ever noticed and one of the most largest avid gamers in franchise historical past.

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The group, primarily based in Charlotte, North Carolina, not too long ago reached an settlement to deliver on Matt Rhule as head trainer. Kuechly mentioned that had not anything to do along with his choice, including: “He will do an incredible activity. His observe file’s confirmed.”

Kuechly “has had an incredible have an effect on in this group and area,” and “his presence cannot be replicated,” Panthers proprietor David Tepper mentioned in a observation.

Kuechly thanked the avid gamers, the coaches, the group of workers and everybody within the group and mentioned he felt lucky to have performed with the group. “It is onerous, however I’m hoping to nonetheless be concerned by hook or by crook,” he mentioned.

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