All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly has announced his retirement from the NFL. Kuechly was the mind, heart and soul of the Panthers defense for eight years.
Kuechly played the game of football with a passion and intelligence that was second to none. The pre-snap battles between the Panther’s linebacker and opposing quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage was a game within the game that was beautiful to watch.
He always seemed to be one step ahead due to his relentless preparation and unteachable feel for the game.
Kuechly led the league in tackles in 2012 and 2014. He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro.
The thing about Kuechly is that it was never about the stat line. He consistently took the most difficult task on defense to put his teammates in a better position to succeed. He was selfless.
Number 59 jerseys have flooded the streets of Charlotte since Kuechly’s rookie season because of fans’ admiration for what he represents on and off the field.
He brought a hardnosed blue-collar work ethic with a white-collar intellect and he brought it every single day. Not just on game days.
Kuechly will be missed immensely on Sundays but maybe even more so day in and day out by the guys in Carolina’s locker room. He is an extremely difficult player to replace and an impossible leader to supplant.
His emotional retirement speech can be found below.
Kuechly has always done was is right and best for others. There is no reason to question that this decision is any different.
He will go down as one of the best Panthers of all time and will undoubtedly be next to be welcomed into the Panther’s Hall of Honor. Don’t be surprised if the Hall of Fame comes knocking as well.
Luke Kuechly will be severely missed but will always be a Carolina Panther.