The 28-year-old Kuechly made the surprising announcement Tuesday night in a video posted on the team’s website. He said, “I think now is the right chance to move on.”
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
Kuechly was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro five times. However, he suffered three concussions during his career, which may have led to his decision.
“It makes me sad because I love playing this game,” Kuechly said. ” I’ve played it since I was a kid. It’s my favorite thing to do in the world. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys, they will never go away. There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid — play fast, play physical and play strong. At this point, I don’t know if I am able to do that anymore.”
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.
“While I wish we could have him for many more years, he has done everything the right way and we respect the decision he has made,” Panthers owner David Tepper said. “Luke is a once in a generation player and someone we want every member of this organization to emulate.”
Kuechly suffered a notable concussion on Nov. 17, 2016, when he left the field after a collision with a Saints player. He left the game on a cart crying uncontrollably, a moment that shook the Panthers organization and players around the league.
But Kuechly later said he wasn’t concerned about concussions affecting his future.
He suffered a third concussion in 2017, but continued playing.
In other Panthers news, a person familiar with the situation says Carolina has agreed to terms on a contract to make LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady its new offensive coordinator.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the Panthers have not confirmed the move.
Brady worked closely with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow, who led the Tigers to a win over Clemson in the national championship game.
Brady is the first significant hire for new Panthers coach Matt Rhule.
The 30-year-old Brady will become the youngest offensive coordinator in the NFL.
Under Brady, LSU led the nation in points scored and yards passing while going 15-0 this season.
Brady previously worked as an assistant for Carolina’s biggest NFC South rival, the New Orleans Saints.
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