CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - When Luke Kuechly’s retirement video started circulating on social media Tuesday night, Panthers fans across the country were surprised. Kuechly announced he would be hanging up his cleats after eight seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
“It was shocking. I found out this morning,” Panthers fan Timika Ingram told WBTV.
Fans and supporters of Kuechly also noted that they were sad to hear the star linebacker was leaving. Kuechly had been cherished for his fierce on-field play and philanthropic work in the community.
“It kind of hurt seeing somebody like that, that we’ve known so well on the team, so just to see him go like that, it’s not okay,” said Panthers fan Harper Rice.
One of Kuechly’s friends and former teammates, Kurt Coleman, only had praise for the 28-year-old linebacker.
“It’s just amazing that he was able to take that step because I think a lot of guys, a lot of players in my position, they have a hard time stepping away from the game and Luke has always been a man a step above the next guy,” said Coleman in an interview with WBTV.
Kuechly’s career included seven Pro Bowl selections, seven AP All-Pro selections, and a Defensive Player of the Year award.
“I’ve never played with a man as great as he was on the field. He knew the plays that were coming,” said Coleman.
In Kuechly’s retirement message, he claims that he’s unsure if he can continue to play fast, physical and strong. Cole said he hasn’t noticed a decline in Kuechly’s performance on the field.
“When you put it all in perspective Luke is setting a trend of which players, we have to reevaluate ourselves every single year and say football is a part of our life, but it’s not our whole life and we gotta continue to say ‘is this really worth it?’ and if it is, continue to play and if it’s not, maybe we ought to think about other things,” said Coleman.
The safety said he is confident Luke will be great in whatever he decides to do with his post-football career, whether it be hunting, fishing or business.