Luke Kuechly is open to coaching, but would it be with the Carolina Panthers?
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly shockingly announced his retirement last week after just eight NFL seasons. One of the best ever to don a Panthers uniform, Kuechly not only set franchise records but established himself as one of the most dominant linebackers in all of football.
Known for running the defense on the field, there are multiple instances where Kuechly called out opponents plays even before they happened. With a relentless work effort on and off the field, the Panthers linebacker embraced watching film, scouting opponents and ensuring he was always ready to play.
Due to these characteristics, it was widely believed he would one day put these skills to use by stepping into a coaching role whenever he decided to hang up his cleats. Coming sooner than expected, NFL Network analyst Mike Garafolo already says Kuechly is open to the idea of coaching or serving in an advisory role, maybe as soon as next season.
If true, the question immediately becomes – where? Undoubtedly, Carolina and owner David Tepper would love for him to remain with the Panthers. Assisting new coach Matt Rhule and Phil Snow, who is expected to be announced as defensive coordinator, would give his staff a boost but assuming the role of coach over individuals whom you played alongside only a year later could be difficult.
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If not with the Panthers, there are likely to be other intriguing options available. Ron Rivera was the only coach Kuechly ever had in the NFL and as he builds a new staff with the Washington Redskins, adding one of his best ever players wouldn’t be a bad idea.
A little further north, former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has taken the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs in two of the past three seasons after a 17 year drought for the franchise. Having coached Kuechly for the first five years of his career, it’s definitely a potential landing spot.
Another opportunity Kuechly may have interest in would be with the Cincinnati Bengals. Coach Zac Taylor is entering his second season after a disappointing 2019, but armed with the No. 1 overall pick of the upcoming NFL Draft, there is reason for hope. Returning to his hometown at the sports highest level could be a golden opportunity for both parties.
While it would be disappointing to see Kuechly in anything but Panthers colors, after his contributions to the franchise fans should wish him nothing but the best in any future endeavor.