Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers are being completely remade entering the 2020 NFL season, and that includes a major change on defense.

Luke Kuechly announced his shocking retirement in a video shared through the team’s Twitter page on Tuesday.

“I still want to play but I don’t think it’s the right decision,” Kuechly said while holding back tears. “I thought about it for a long time, and I think now is an opportunity for me to step away with what’s going on here. I think we have a really good linebacking room.”

The 28-year-old linebacker said the decision had nothing to do with the head coaching change. The Panthers fired Ron Rivera during the season and recently hired Matt Rhule as their new head coach. Kuechly was drafted by the Panthers in 2012, and Rivera was the team’s head coach during his entire career.

Kuechly was a 7-time Pro Bowler, five-time All-Pro, the 2012 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, and the 2013 AP Defensive Player of the Year. He dealt with concussions during his career and also had shoulder surgery last offseason.

Here is the video of his announcement:

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.



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MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Can you name every NFL AP Defensive Rookie of the Year since the 1988 season?
SCORE:
0/32
TIME:
5:00
2019 / SF / DE
Nick Bosa
2018 / IND / LB
Darius Leonard
2017 / NO / CB
Marshon Lattimore
2016 / SD / DE
Joey Bosa
2015 / KC / CB
Marcus Peters
2014 / STL / DT
Aaron Donald
2013 / NYJ / DE
Sheldon Richardson
2012 / CAR / LB
Luke Kuechly
2011 / DEN / LB
Von Miller
2010 / DET / DT
Ndamukong Suh
2009 / HOU / LB
Brian Cushing
2008 / NE / LB
Jerod Mayo
2007 / SF / LB
Patrick Willis
2006 / HOU / LB
DeMeco Ryans
2005 / SD / LB
Shawne Merriman
2004 / NYJ / LB
Jonathan Vilma
2003 / BAL / LB
Terrell Suggs
2002 / CAR / DE
Julius Peppers
2001 / PIT / LB
Kendrell Bell
2000 / CHI / LB
Brian Urlacher
1999 / TEN / DE
Jevon Kearse
1998 / OAK / CB
Charles Woodson
1997 / BAL / LB
Peter Boulware
1996 / ARI / DE
Simeon Rice
1995 / NYJ / DE
Hugh Douglas
1994 / MIA / DT
Tim Bowens
1993 / SF / DT
Dana Stubblefield
1992 / KC / CB
Dale Carter
1991 / DEN / LB
Mike Croel
1990 / CHI / S
Mark Carrier
1989 / KC / LB
Derrick Thomas
1988 / NYJ / S
Erik McMillan

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