Last night, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement from the NFL. Luke joins an elite group of recent NFL stars who decided to step away from the game at a young age. Kam Chancellor, Calvin Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, Andrew Luck, Patrick Willis, and others have all decided to, in the words of the GOAT Marshawn Lynch, take care of their chickens and their mental.
I don’t want to get into a “who’s injury was more tragic” debate ever with NFL stars, but Luke Kuechly had one of the single scariest moments of my professional sports fandom against the Saints. This was the moment I figured he was just flat out done playing man.
On a brighter note, Kuechly will go down as one of the greatest linebackers the NFL has seen. His ability to read offenses was quarterback like and was a complete staple point for that defense for years.
I love watching videos where offensive players are just aware that Kuechly knows what your team is doing and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s hysterical. It’s rough as a football fan to see your favorite players walk away from the game near their prime, but I think a time is coming where this is the norm. The game has gotten stronger and faster with big hits and injury scares seeming possible week in and week out.
You can make a list of guys who could also retire due to head issues but Kuechly is just the most recent potential HOF’er to walk away.