Luke Kuechly was the best Linebacker in the NCAA in 2011, where the Boston College player would win the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, and Lott Trophy. He was drafted Ninth Overall in that year's draft by the Carolina Panthers, and he would immediately establish himself as one of the best interior linemen in the pro ranks.
Following the somewhat expected retirement of Antonio Gates, a shocking one took place this evening as Carolina Panthers Linebacker, Luke Kuechly has announced his retirement from the NFL. He is only 28 Years old, but has had issues with concussions in recent years.
In a video shared by the Panthers, Kuechly cited that it was “the right time” to retire and that it was the “right time to move on.” Kuechly was the best Linebacker in the NCAA in 2011, where the Boston College player would win the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award and Lott Trophy. He was drafted ninth overall in that year’s draft by the Carolina Panthers, and he would immediately establish himself as one of the best interior lineman in the pro ranks.
Kuechly started originally but was playing at the exterior until Jon Beason was injured, and Kuechly would take over at his natural Middle Linebacker position. He would win the Defensive Rookie of the Year, and astounding as that was, this was arguably the weakest of his career.
From 2013 to 2019, he would be named to the Pro Bowl, with five of those seasons, seeing Kuechly be named First Team All-Pro. In the two that he didn’t win that honor, he was a Second Team All-Pro. Kuechly would win the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2013. With the exception of this rookie season, he had an Approximate Value of at least 10, and he was a two-time leader in Tackles.
Keuchly did it all. He was an excellent pass rusher, could stuff the running game, and dropped back at ease. Also, an exemplary tackler, he was the leader of the Panthers defense almost from the time he got there, and few players ever matched his natural instincts on the gridiron. The Panthers were a successful team while he was there, and he was a huge reason that they reached Super Bowl 50.
He retires with 18 Interceptions and 1,092 Tackles, the latter being the most by any Linebacker since 2012. Kuechly becomes another player in recent years to retire at the height of their game.
In our pre-season ranking of active players for Hall of Fame consideration, Kuechly was ranked at #17, and based on his 2019 season, he would have entered the 2020 season even higher.
Barring a comeback, he is eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2025.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to thank Luke Kuechly for all of the moments he gave us on the field, and we wish him the best in his post-playing career.