4 Carolina Panthers numbers that nobody should ever wear again
By Dean Jones
Luke Kuechly – Former Carolina Panthers LB
There were more than a few eyebrows raised when the Carolina Panthers ignored other key needs to select Luke Kuechly in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The linebacker blew influential figures within the organization away throughout his evaluation process and it didn’t take long for the player to repay the faith shown in him.
Kuechly was an absolute phenomenon. An instant difference-maker that earned respect around the league almost from the moment he stepped onto the field.
He won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in his first two seasons, reaching seven Pro Bowls and no fewer than five first-team All-Pro selections.
Kuechly was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s and established himself as one of the best-ever at the position before his shock retirement due to health concerns after the 2019 campaign.
The Carolina Panthers have found life extremely difficult finding a successor to Kuechly. Tahir Whitehead and Jermaine Carter failed to make the most out of their opportunities, with Damien Wilson set to fill the gaping void in 2022 depending on what happens following his recent arrest.
Kuechly was a force of nature. And anybody else wearing No. 59 would not seem right moving forward.