Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly announces his retirement

Carolina Panthers star Luke Kuechly announces his retirement”

Kuechly finishes his career with 1,092 tackles, which is the most by any player since coming into the league in 2012 as a first round pick out of Boston College. He is walking away from $21 million over the next two years.

Kuechly's resume includes seven Pro Bowl nods, seven AP All-Pro selections with five on the first team, the Defensive Player of the Year award (2013) and the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award (2012). "There's only one way to play this game since I was a little kid, is to play fast, play physical and play strong".

Kuechly released a video announcing his retirement on the Carolina Panthers official Twitter page where he states "in my heart, I know it's the right thing to do". 49ers linebackers Patrick Willis, 30-years old, and Chris Borland, 24-years old, also retired after the 2014 season. "It's a tough decision, I've thought about it a lot and I think now is the right chance for me to move on".

He racked up plenty of acclaim during his seven-year career, making the Pro Bowl and being selected as an All-Pro in each season.

Kuechly was in tears when he was carted off the field after a concussion during the 2016 season, a striking moment that highlighted the NFL's ongoing problem with brain injuries. The team fired head coach Ron Rivera this season after nine years in Carolina and replaced him with Baylor head coach Matt Rhule. "We have shared countless memories together both on the field and away from it".

Kuechly added that he hopes to still be involved in football, but did not give further details. He also took time to thank his family and everyone in the Panthers organization, in addition to the fans. It's obviously going to be very hard for all of us because we know that no player can replace what he's been for this organization for the last eight years. They were immediately rewarded with one of the best middle linebackers in football, not to mention a vocal leader.

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