Kuechly calls it quits

Panther’s Linebacker Luke Kuechly retires from the NFL


Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Photo provided by Panthers Public Media.

Kenny Miller, Reporter

On Jan. 14, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement at the age of 28. Fans reacted quickly to the announcement, shocked that he’s retiring at such a young age. He was arguably the best linebacker in the league since joined the National Football League (NFL) in 2012. In his career, he has helped lead the Panthers to win a National Football Conference (NFC) title. He was one of the best Panther players of all time, so what will the Panthers do without him?

As a stellar eighth year NFL athlete, he made seven Pro Bowls and five first team All-Pro. Kuechly also led the league in tackling, with 1,092 tackles since he entered the league. In addition, he has won the rookie of the year award and the defensive player of the year, finishing with 18 interceptions and 75 tackles. As a teammate, he helped the Panthers win three NFC South titles in 2013, 2014, 2015 and almost got them a Superbowl title in 2015. Therefore, it is safe to say that it’ll be hard for the Panthers to adjust without him.

Despite the challenges the team already faces, the Panthers hired new head coach Matt Rhule. Kuechly’s retirement makes Rhule’s job hard as he tries to rebuild the program. Rhule wanted to focus on fixing the offense; however, now has to rebuild all sides of the offense. In addition, he will have to work on the defensive side, despite being known for their show stopping defense, because Kuchly’s defensive role. Therefore, Rhule has to rebuild both sides of the ball, not just the offense which could create problems.

The Panthers look to move forward next season and hope to improve the defense without Kuechly.