At the young age of 28, Luke Kuechly is calling it a career.
In a video released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday, the 28-year-old linebacker bid the team and his fans farewell after eight seasons in the NFL. Kuechly doesn’t believe there’s a “right time to step away” from the game, but says, “now is the right time for me.”
“It’s a tough decision. I’ve thought about it a lot and I think now is the right chance for me to move on,” Kuechly said. “It makes me sad because I love playing this game. I’ve played it since I was a little kid. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. The memories I have from this place and organization and playing on the field with these guys… they’ll never go away.”
Despite posting some impressive numbers, Kuechly struggled with injury. He’s had three concussions since 2015 (including one that went viral in 2016) and had had surgery on his shoulder twice since 2016.
Kuechly first thanked his family in his goodbye video before turning to his fans.
“Thank you Panthers fans. Thank you everybody in the NFL for your constant support,” Kuechly said. “Now is the time to move in a different direction.”
“In my heart, I know it’s the right thing to do.” pic.twitter.com/mSDyJ0iEMw
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) January 15, 2020
(You can read the full transcript here.)