CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The star linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, Luke Kuechly announced Tuesday he is retiring from the NFL.
Kuechly posted an emotional video announcement to Twitter Tuesday night saying in part, "It's never the right time to step away, but now is the right time for me."
The Panthers linebacker says it is a sad decision but he feels fortunate to have been able to play the game for as long as he has, including his eight years in Carolina, and "now is the time to step away."
You can watch the entire video below:
In December, Kuechly was selected to the 2020 Pro Bowl for the seventh time in his career, which is the most for any player in Panthers franchise history.
Kuechly currently ranks fourth in the NFL with 131 tackles, according to press box statistics, and has recorded two interceptions with 11 passes defended. Kuechly also surpassed former Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis on Sunday for the most tackles in franchise history when he recorded 17 tackles against Seattle. That brought Kuechly's career total to 1,079 tackles. Davis's record stood at 1,077.
The Panthers say Kuechly also surpassed Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher (966) for the most tackles by any player through their first eight seasons in the NFL. In doing so, Kuechly also became the first player in NFL history to have 1,000 tackles through his first eight seasons.
Former Panthers coach Ron Rivera weighed in on Kuechly's decision and what it was like to coach him for his entire career.
The 2020 Pro Bowl will take place on Sunday, January 26 at 3 p.m. The game will be played at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida.