Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement on Tuesday night. The news stunned the football world as Kuechly stepped away from the game after just eight seasons.
Kuechly made the announcement in a video shared by the Panthers on Twitter. In the video, the 28-year-old talked about now being the right time for him to step away from the game.
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
A seven-time All-Pro linebacker, Kuechly is coming off a 2019 season in which he played in all 16 games and recorded 144 tackles, 12 pass deflections and two interceptions.
Kuechly steps away from the game at a time when Carolina is going through a significant organizational change under new head coach Matt Rhule.
As the NFL world learned the shocking news, former teammates, fans and analysts could only react in astonishment and appreciation for Kuechly’s contributions to the game during his eight-year career.
Not quite sure what to say about Luke Kuechly's surprise retirement, except maybe this: If he's happy with his decision, I'm happy for him.— Bryan Strickland (@StricklySports) January 15, 2020
He's the humblest superstar I've ever had the honor of being around. Luke is, as he would often say about others, a good dude.
Luke Kuechly: most valuable LB (PFF WAR) since '06.— PFF (@PFF) January 15, 2020
He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/joRvPc7mbL
Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis are possibly the two best inside linebackers drafted in last 2 decades. Neither made it to their age-30 season.— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) January 15, 2020
Luke Kuechly was one of the best players I’ve ever seen. Transcendent LB at his peak. Always fascinated how often it seemed like he was “guessing” but almost always managed to be right. Rare, rare talent.— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) January 15, 2020
We’ve seen two elite and insanely competitive players retire at a young age over the course of the last year.— Carter Donnick (@CDonnick3) January 15, 2020
Hard to recognize when you’re putting your body and health on the line, but major props for Andrew Luck and Luke Kuechly to come to terms and act on it.
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.’— Steven Ruiz (@theStevenRuiz) January 15, 2020
He should be a first ballot HOFer when the time comes.
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
I couldn’t be more proud to call you my brother! Congrats on a heck of a career! The game will miss you as much as you miss the game bro! I love you my brother! https://t.co/6jw3C1xeZK— Thomas Davis (@ThomasDavisSDTM) January 15, 2020