Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly surprised the football world on Tuesday night when he announced his retirement from the game after eight great seasons.
The surprise was more in the dropping of the announcement on social media and less with his decision as the 28-year-old had suffered a number of concussions throughout his career and this feels like the best decision for him.
Kuechly finishes his career as a 7-time Pro Bowler, a 5-time All-Pro, the 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year and was the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.
And some time down the line he will be a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Here’s his announcement:
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
Yeah, it was a pretty good career:
Panthers LB Panthers LB Luke Kuechly has announced he is retiring.
Since entering the NFL in 2012, Kuechly led all LBs in tackles, interceptions and pass breakups. pic.twitter.com/ugWmNDGhmj
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 15, 2020
His longtime teammate, Greg Olson, posted his tribute:
Words can’t describe who Luke Kuechly is as a person, friend, and teammate. We have shared countless memories together both on the field and away from it. I feel honored to be his friend and I’ll always appreciate the impact he has had on my life. Love you buddy pic.twitter.com/0DHYkOwDp1
— Greg Olsen (@gregolsen88) January 15, 2020
NFL media rightfully sang his praises, too:
Luke Kuechly’s transparency in this statement was unheralded, this wasn’t a prewritten speech.
He waited til the organization & LB room were in good hands FIRST, before even considering his own health. Fans, I hope you appreciate what you have in some athletes, & in Luke. https://t.co/7OsTcxQqux
— Emmanuel Acho (@thEMANacho) January 15, 2020
Good for Luke Kuechly. Better to get out too soon rather than too late, and considering his history with head injuries, I don’t even know if we can consider this ‘too soon.’
He should be a first ballot HOFer when the time comes.
— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) January 15, 2020
Want a peek into Luke Kuechly's character?
I interviewed Luke Kuechly after St. X won state his junior year. This hand written letter came to my home a week later.
Hall of Fame football player.
First class human being. pic.twitter.com/78QEfgGKCl
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) January 15, 2020
Luke Kuechly since entering the NFL in 2012:
* 1,092 tackles (1st in the NFL)
* 7 Pro Bowls (T-1st)
* 5x First-Team All-Pro (T-1st)
* 18 INT (most amongst LB)
* NFL Defensive Player of the Year
* Defensive Rookie of the Year
* 7 seasons as a team captain
A Hall of Fame resumé.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 15, 2020
Luke Kuechly's resume is actually pretty mind-blowing.
• 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.
• 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
• Seven-time Pro Bowler (2013-19).
• Five-time first-team All-Pro.
• Two-time second-team All-Pro.
Hard to do much better in 8 years.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 15, 2020
Luke Kuechly was a different breed of linebacker in Carolina.
No doubt that he’ll be missed 😞
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) January 15, 2020
I've always felt that Luke Kuechly is underappreciated by the masses. Film watchers know he's been just incredible but he played in a smaller market. He'd routinely call out plays and then make the tackle for a loss. He'd run routes like he was the receiver and snag an INT. https://t.co/be3xtefpFa
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 15, 2020
The NFL will miss Luke Kuechly. Great player. Class act, on and off the field.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) January 15, 2020
Absolutely floored by the Luke Kuechly announcement.
Hardest working linebackers ever IMO:
1) Brian Urlacher
2) Luke Kuechly
3) Dick Butkus
4) Dan Morgan
5) Keith Brooking
6) AJ Hawk
7) Paul Posluszny
8) Zach Thomas
9) Chad Greenway
10) James Laurinaitis
— Barry McCockiner (SEE PINNED TWEET) (@MegaTroopLover) January 15, 2020