CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the NFL after eight seasons.
The 28-year-old Kuechly made the surprising announcement Tuesday night in a video posted on the team’s website. He said, “I think now is the right chance to move on."
Kuechly was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro five times. However, he suffered three concussions during his career, which may have led to his decision.
Kuechly was in tears when he was carted off the field after a concussion during the 2016 season, a striking moment that highlighted the NFL's ongoing problem with brain injuries.
“It makes me sad because I love playing this game,” Kuechly said. “ I’ve played it since I was a kid. It’s my favorite thing to do in the world. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys, they will never go away. There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid — play fast, play physical and play strong. At this point, I don’t know if I am able to do that anymore.”
Kuechly finishes his career with 1,092 tackles, which is the most by any player since coming into the league in 2012 as a first round pick out of Boston College.