Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly has announced his retirement at the age of 28.
“I think now is the right chance for me to move on,” Kuechly said via Panthers.com. “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.”
Kuechly finishes with a strong resume that includes seven Pro Bowl selections, seven AP All-Pro selections with five on the first team, the Defensive Player of the Year award (2013) and the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award (2012).
He had 1,092 tackles, the most in the NFL since he entered the league. His 18 interceptions are most by a linebacker since 2012 and third-most in Panthers franchise history.
He played in all 16 games this past season.