Kuechly, an eight-year veteran who has played his entire career for the Panthers, did not give a specific reason for his retirement in the 3 minute, 35 second video where he appeared close to tears on several occasions. In eight seasons with the Panthers, Kuechly racked up 1,092 career tackles, 75 tackles for loss 66 pass deflections and 18 interceptions.
"It's never the right time to step away, but now is the right time for me", Kuechly said.
"While I wish we could have him for many more years, he has done everything the right way and we respect the decision that he's made", Tepper said. It makes me sad because I love playing this game. It's my favorite thing to do in the world.
Luke Kuechly is walking away.
Why did Luke Kuechly retire?"At this point, I don't know if I'm able to do that anymore and that's the part that is the most hard". That's the part that is most hard. "Luke is a once-in-a-generation player and someone we want every member of this organization to emulate".
Kuechly was incredibly productive in his career, but also suffered a number of injuries.
Replacing Kuechly at this stage of his career, still seemingly in his prime, will be hard for the Panthers. With Ron Rivera being fired and Matt Rhule taking over, Kuechly made sure to mention that his decision had nothing to do with the new coaching staff.
He was First-Team All-Pro five times and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013.
But Kuechly later said he wasn't concerned about concussions affecting his future.