Panthers News: Camerun Peoples, Bradley Bozeman, Bryce Young and Luke Kuechly

Checking out the best Carolina Panthers news and rumors from around the media.

Luke Kuechly
Luke Kuechly / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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Carolina Panthers legend named as Hall of Fame lock

The Carolina Panthers still miss Luke Kuechly's presence at the defensive second level three years after his bombshell retirement. He remains a key part of the franchise behind the scenes and is always welcome at practice, but the defense hasn't been the same since the emotional video that came with an outpouring of grief across the fanbase.

Kuechly would be welcomed back in a heartbeat by Frank Reich if he opted to pursue coaching at any stage. There is also the small matter of whether the former Boston College star will be a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer when the time comes in 2025.

After Sam Mills became the first genuine Panthers connection enshrined in Canton last year, legendary franchise figures are now queueing up for their place. Steve Smith Sr. and Julius Peppers could go in 2024, but even though Kuechly was named as a Hall of Fame lock by The 33rd Team, writer Paul Domowitch questioned whether it would be at the first time of asking given his short career.

"[Luke] Kuechly walked away from the game after eight seasons and a string of concussions. He made the most of those seasons, going to the Pro Bowl seven times and being a first-team All-Pro five times as well as an All-Decade selection. “If he had played another three to four years, he’d be a first-year-of-eligibility guy,” Domowitch said. “Might still be, but he shouldn’t have to wait very long. Kuechly was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in just his second season. He was a smart, instinctive, difference-making player.’’"

The 33rd Team

Kuechly packed more accomplishments into eight years than most could even dream of. He's arguably the best middle linebacker of the modern era and nobody would argue if a first-ballot induction came his way after giving absolutely everything and almost sacrificing his long-term health for the game.