Carolina Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement from the NFL after eight seasons. The announcement came as a surprise for many fans.
Former NFL linebacker Luke Kuechly said Friday he is still trying to find the next step after abruptly announcing his retirement from football at the end of the 2019 season.
Kuechly told NBC Sports he “gave everything” he could to the game and that he was looking for other ways to “stay involved in football somehow.”
“I love the game of football, I love everything about it, I love the studying aspect, I love the team aspect. … I’m gonna miss the interaction, the guys, you know, every day,” the former Carolina Panthers star said.
“I know when the season comes around I’m going to have that pit in my stomach knowing that, man, I wish I was still out there. But I think you look at it in the sense that you have a long life to live, what’s the best thing for right now? You have to make hard decisions in your life; I think this is one of the harder ones I’ve had to make. Hopefully, I can find a way to stay involved in football somehow.”
Kuechly, 28, said in a video posted on the team’s website in January that he believes it is the “right chance to move on.” He fought back tears during the announcement.
Kuechly was selected with the No. 9 pick of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Panthers out of Boston College. He made it to seven Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro five times. In 2012, he was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year and in 2013 he was named AP Defensive Player of the Year.
He helped the Panthers win three NFC South titles and reach the Super Bowl during the 2015 season.