On the 14th January 2020, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement from the NFL after eight seasons. Kuechly is likely heading to the Hall of Fame and has been one of the best players in the league, and an undisputed star of the 2010s.
Kuechly was drafted ninth overall in the first round in the 2012 draft.
He had a successful career in Carolina which included a trip to the Super Bowl in 2016 where his team came up short losing 24-10 to the Denver Broncos.
Across his eight seasons in the NFL Kuechly made 1,092 total tackles with 12.5 sacks and 18 interceptions, while also making 7 Pro Bowl’s and 5 First Team All-Pro’s. He also added both Defensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Kuechly has had a history with injuries – he tore the labrum in his shoulder back in 2015, which required surgery, and between 2015 and 2017 he suffered three concussions that caused him to miss multiple several games.
In an interview which was posted on the Carolina Panthers twitter Kuechly said, “It’s a tough decision” and “I think now is the right chance for me to move on.”
Greg Olsen sent out a tweet saying, “Words can’t describe who Luke Kuechly is as a person, friend and teammate…I’ll always appreciate the impact he has had on my life.”
However, Kuechly isn’t the first star player to go into early retirement.
Players such as Calvin Johnson, Kam Chancellor and Rob Gronkowski have also taken early retirement in the past few years. Research has shown the impact that the NFL can have on players’ long-term health, and it’s no surprise to see players making the decision to call it a day even before their 30th birthday.
Along with Andrew Luck’s shock announcement as well back in August of 2019 this doesn’t give the NFL a good look.