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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Can you name every NFL AP Defensive Rookie of the Year?
SCORE:
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TIME:
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1967-DET-CB
Lem Barney
1968-ATL-DE
Claude Humphrey
1969-PIT-DT
Joe Greene
1970-SF-CB
Bruce Taylor
1971-LAR-LB
Isiah Robertson
1972-GB-CB
Willie Buchanon
1973-CHI-DT
Wally Chambers
1974-PIT-LB
Jack Lambert
1975-HOU-LB
Robert Brazile
1976-NE-CB
Mike Haynes
1977-MIA-DE
A.J. Duhe
1978-DET-DE
Al Baker
1979-BUF-LB
Jim Haslett
1980-ATL-LB
Buddy Curry
1980-ATL-LB
Al Richardson
1981-NYG-LB
Lawrence Taylor
1982-CLE-LB
Chip Banks
1983-BAL-LB
Vernon Leroy Maxwell
1984-KC-DT
Bill Maas
1985-IND-LB
Duane Bickett
1986-SD-DE
Leslie O'Neal
1987-BUF-LB
Shane Conlan
1988-NYJ-S
Erik McMillan
1989-KC-LB
Derrick Thomas
1990-CHI-S
Mark Carrier
1991-DEN-LB
Mike Croel
1992-KC-CB
Dale Carter
1993-SF-DT
Dana Stubblefield
1994-MIA-DT
Tim Bowens
1995-NYJ-DE
Hugh Douglas
1996-ARI-DE
Simeon Rice
1997-BAL-LB
Peter Boulware
1998-OAK-CB
Charles Woodson
1999-TEN-DE
Jevon Kearse
2000-CHI-LB
Brian Urlacher
2001-PIT-LB
Kendrell Bell
2002-CAR-DE
Julius Peppers
2003-BAL-LB
Terrell Suggs
2004-NYJ-LB
Jonathan Vilma
2005-SD-LB
Shawne Merriman
2006-HOU-LB
DeMeco Ryans
2007-SF-LB
Patrick Willis
2008-NE-LB
Jerod Mayo
2009-HOU-LB
Brian Cushing
2010-DET-DT
Ndamukong Suh
2011-DEN-LB
Von Miller
2012-CAR-LB
Luke Kuechly
2013-NYJ-DE
Sheldon Richardson
2014-STL-DT
Aaron Donald
2015-KC-CB
Marcus Peters
2016-SD-DE
Joey Bosa
2017-NO-CB
Marshon Lattimore
2018-IND-LB
Darius Leonard

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