The trend of early retirement in the NFL is continuing to convince many of the best in the game to walk away earlier and earlier, and Carolina Panthers superstar linebacker Luke Kuechly has shockingly followed that trend. The All-Pro middle linebacker announced his retirement this evening via a Twitter video on the team's official feed, stunning the entire football world.
Kuechly will walk away from the game at age 28 after eight professional seasons.
After leading the country in tackles at Boston College, the Panthers picked Kuechly ninth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. In eight years with Carolina, Kuechly recorded 1,092 tackles, putting up at least 100 in every season. He the league in tackles twice, picked up 12.5 sacks, and intercepted 18 passes. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in just his second season in the NFL in 2013.
Kuechly was a Pro Bowler for seven straight years and has been named a First Team All-Pro player five times while earning two Second Team nods. The only time he was not a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection was his rookie year... a season in which he led the entire NFL in tackles.
Congratulations on your Hall of Fame career, Luke. The next time we see you might be when you get fitted for your gold jacket in those hallowed halls in Canton.