Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers superstar linebacker, announces retirement at 28

Luke Kuechly got emotional as he announced the end of his career with the Carolina Panthers. Kuechly has a history of head injuries, including three known concussions from 2015-2017.

Posted: Jan 16, 2020 2:20 PM
Updated: Jan 16, 2020 2:20 PM

Luke Kuechly, a star linebacker for the Carolina Panthers who has suffered a series of head injuries in recent years, announced his retirement from pro football in a video statement Tuesday.

"For me, now is the right opportunity to move in a different direction," Kuechly, a five-time, first-team All-Pro, said. "There's only one way to play this game since I was a little kid is to play fast and to play physical and to play strong, and at this point I don't know that anymore."

Fighting back tears, Kuechly said, "And that's the part that the most difficult is I still want to play, but I don't think it's the right decision."

Kuechly, just 28 years old, played eight seasons for the Panthers after a collegiate career at Boston College. In his NFL career, Kuechly was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and the 2017 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner.

But he has also repeatedly made the injury report with head injuries in recent years.

In 2016, Kuechly suffered a concussion in a nationally televised game that left him crying and gasping for air. It was the second concussion he'd had in two years, according to an article in Sports Illustrated the next season, titled: "Luke Kuechly Is the Poster Child for the NFL's Concussion Problem."

Kuechly had concussions in 2015, 2016 and possibly 2017, the story said.

With his retirement, Kuechly joins several NFL players who recently have called it quits at a relatively young age due to the sport's punishing nature.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck abruptly retired before this season at age 29 to avoid what he called the "unceasing and unrelenting" cycle of injury, pain and rehab. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski retired at age 29 this past offseason, and in August, he began to cry as he discussed how injuries had taken away the joy he had in life.

"I was in near constant pain and needed to make a change," Gronkowski said in a statement at the time.

Since 2012, no NFL player had more tackles that Kuechly, who had 1,092.

"He's been in the middle of it all for the last eight years," the Panthers tweeted. "No one did it better."

Former Panthers coach Ron Rivera tweeted: "I had the privilege of playing next to HOF #MikeSingletary & coaching HOF (Brian Urlacher) @BUrlacher54 & @LukeKuechly is worthy of that honor someday. But more important I will remember Luke's sense of humor, his leadership & 4 being a great teammate."

Kuechly's teammate, running back Christian McCaffrey said Kuechly was great off the field.

"Thank you for some of the best memories both on and off the field," McCaffrey wrote. "I'm so honored to have shared the field with not just the best player I've ever seen, but the best person I've ever met. Will always love you bro! To retirement."

Kuechly had two years left on his contract at more than $10 million per season, according to Spotrac.

Huntsville
Scattered Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
Scottsboro
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 91776

Reported Deaths: 1639
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12486232
Mobile9420204
Montgomery6449148
Madison516130
Tuscaloosa405769
Baldwin338023
Unassigned319060
Shelby316432
Marshall306034
Lee258844
Morgan229517
Etowah204128
DeKalb174513
Calhoun167213
Elmore167238
Walker149864
Houston134812
Dallas130523
St. Clair128915
Russell12772
Limestone126113
Franklin123820
Cullman118912
Colbert114113
Lauderdale112315
Autauga105021
Escambia104416
Talladega96713
Jackson9244
Tallapoosa84179
Chambers83538
Dale80223
Blount7593
Butler75635
Chilton7456
Coffee7365
Covington71620
Pike6877
Lowndes56724
Barbour5655
Marion56224
Marengo53614
Clarke4949
Hale46426
Bullock45011
Winston44011
Perry4364
Wilcox41410
Bibb4134
Monroe4084
Randolph39410
Conecuh37810
Pickens3779
Sumter36018
Lawrence3321
Macon32013
Washington32012
Crenshaw3123
Choctaw27712
Cherokee2587
Greene24911
Henry2493
Geneva2480
Clay2375
Lamar2122
Fayette1835
Cleburne1251
Coosa1012
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 116350

Reported Deaths: 1186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby22212300
Davidson20001211
Rutherford629853
Hamilton588449
Knox429837
Williamson340525
Sumner331672
Unassigned30368
Out of TN283116
Wilson219023
Bradley181712
Montgomery181513
Sevier17916
Putnam167716
Trousdale15786
Robertson150619
Hamblen134614
Blount12229
Maury11597
Tipton11559
Washington11312
Madison98415
Bedford90111
Sullivan89512
Hardeman85815
Macon85513
Lake7650
Loudon7053
Bledsoe6861
Dickson6521
Fayette6528
Anderson6516
Gibson6444
Dyer5937
Cheatham5697
Lawrence5276
Jefferson5253
Henderson5172
Rhea5171
McMinn50920
Obion4904
Coffee4823
Warren4794
Carter4735
Lauderdale4558
Hardin4447
Cocke4392
Haywood4356
Smith4294
Roane4232
Greene4187
Hawkins4167
Cumberland3986
Monroe3979
Giles36913
Weakley3633
McNairy3515
DeKalb3312
Franklin3024
Marshall2753
Carroll2723
Lincoln2681
Crockett2534
Henry2480
Hickman2480
White2465
Claiborne2420
Campbell2291
Johnson2250
Wayne2242
Marion2134
Chester2062
Grainger1890
Decatur1883
Polk1853
Overton1551
Unicoi1480
Union1410
Cannon1360
Benton1261
Humphreys1183
Jackson1121
Scott1100
Grundy1082
Sequatchie1000
Meigs990
Morgan981
Fentress790
Hancock771
Perry770
Stewart740
Clay710
Lewis671
Houston560
Moore550
Van Buren350
Pickett301

Community Events