28-year-old Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is calling quits from the NFL less than a month after he was named to his seventh Pro Bowl selection.
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.”
“I think now is the right chance for me to move on,” Kuechly said. “It makes me sad because I love playing this game, I’ve played it since I was a kid. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys – they’ll never go away.
“In my heart I know it’s the right thing to do… There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid – play fast, play physical and play strong. And at this point I don’t know if I am able to do that anymore.”
Panthers owner David Tepper released a statement on Kuechly’s retirement.
“Beyond his extraordinary performance on the field, Luke has had a tremendous impact on this organization and region,” owner David Tepper said. “In my two seasons with Luke, I quickly recognized how special of a person he is. The respect he gives and garners from others as well as the positive impact he has on his peers is second to none. It’s obviously going to be very difficult for all of us because we know that no player can replace what he’s been for this organization for the last eight years. His presence can’t be replicated.”
It seems like there’s a trend of star NFL players retiring at a young age.
Kuechly was still at the top of his game which makes his announcement a bit jarring.