Luke Kuechly – Former Carolina Panthers LB
The Carolina Panthers have had no shortage of great linebackers in the franchise’s history. But there was none greater than Luke Kuechly.
The former Boston College sensation made his impact felt immediately as he led the NFL in tackles in Year 1 of his pro career, winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He followed that performance with an NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in Year 2 and became a favorite of not only Panthers supporters, but fans of great defensive players across the league.
Kuechly made the Pro Bowl in every year except his rookie season and was named first-team All-Pro in five of his eight years. The only player on this list to play his entire career with the Panthers, Captain America holds the top three tackling seasons in franchise history and has been named to the All-Pro team and Pro Bowl more than any other Panther ever.
His sudden retirement at the height of his career still stings. Kuechly left a void in the middle of Carolina’s defense that has yet to be filled.
His retirement is quite possibly the biggest heartbreak ever experienced by Panthers fans, but his impact on the game and his service as the leader of the defense during his entire career gives us fond memories.
Kuechly is without a doubt on the Panthers Mount Rushmore and helped create the strongest years in Panthers franchise history.