Ryan Kalil announced his plans for retirement after one more season with the Carolina Panthers…
Ryan Kalil has been an anchor for the Carolina Panthers offensive line spanning over a decade. After being drafted in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Kalil started his first professional game at guard and didn’t debut at center until the final week of the regular season. In between he saw action in only four other games with one additional start.
The next year Kalil became a full-time starter helping Carolina win their division and playing a playoff game for the first time in his career. A loss to Arizona, it would be the first of eight career playoff games for Kalil to this point, only one behind franchise leader Jordan Gross for offensive line playoff starts.
According to Joseph Person of The Charlotte Observer, Kalil recently announced his plans to retire following next season in a phone interview. The Panthers center is the second active member of the roster to reveal next season will be their last, following linebacker Thomas Davis, who is also retiring.
Both have been Panthers for their entire NFL careers.
Kalil recently enjoyed getting to play alongside his brother for the first time in their lives at any level. Younger brother Matt Kalil joined the Panthers last offseason and although Ryan was injured for much of last year, they played seven games with one another and should add to their total if both remain healthy next season.
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In the elder Kalil’s absence, center Tyler Larsen filled in after earning his opportunity a year prior. After initially being buried on the depth chart, injuries to both Kalil and backup Gino Gradkowski in 2016 led to Larsen getting an opportunity. He impressed and won the backup role entering 2017, for which he would be needed.
Larsen started 10 games last year and has earned the chance to compete as Kalil’s permanent replacement in the short-term. As an exclusive rights free agent, the Panthers can bring back Larsen with an inexpensive one-year contract while determining if he is a viable long-term solution.
If not, the Panthers may elect to address the position immediately via the upcoming NFL Draft as ESPN expert Mel Kiper has projected. This would give the rookie one season with Kalil before passing the torch.