Panthers franchise-changing moment No. 2: Luke Kuechly’s retirement in 2020
Shortly after the 2019 season ended, Kuechly announced his retirement in a somber video. He cited his physical playstyle and how it is not good for his health.
His departure was completely understandable. We fans and analysts often forget that these players are human. Despite the incredible athletic ability and seemingly unstoppable will to play through anything, these athletes have their own health and lives that need to come first.
Kuechly’s retirement after Rivera’s firing and Davis’ retirement signaled the end of an era defensively in Carolina. Even though Shaq Thompson remains on the team and is a great linebacker, no one will replace what Kuechly and Davis did for the organization and what is more important, the things they did for the city of Charlotte.
The Panthers have yet to find a true leader of their defense since the Hall of Famer’s retirement, despite the current talent on the roster.
Everything Kuechly did will never be taken for granted by the fanbase and the organization. And the hole he left has yet to be filled, and it may never be.