Carolina Panthers Linebacker Luke “Clark Kent” Kuechly is retiring.
The NFL, and fans will state that the 28 year old is the best linebacker in the NFL, playing since his arrival in 2012. He’s set the tone in defense for the Panthers, pushing and leading the defense. But now, he sees its time.
“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 kid. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys – they’ll never go away.
After eight years and his influence on the game and the team, it’s a bitter pill for many to swallow. We’ve seen his passion in the game, the injuries suffered, the rising to meet the challenges his competitors brought to the game.
“In my heart I know it’s the right thing to do… There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid – play fast, play physical and play strong. And at this point I don’t know if I am able to do that anymore.”
He’s had seven Pro Bowl attendances, All Pro Selections that placed him five times on first team and voted Best Defensive Player of the Year for 2013. His career will end with 1,092 tackles, 18 interceptions and 75 tackles for loss. The numbers don’t lie, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Will he return to football? The talent that Kuechly possesses is why he is nicknamed “Clark Kent” when he gets on the field, he changes into that force that motivates and gives its all toward victory.
If he doesn’t, we thank you Luke for all that you have done for the team….
No cape required.