CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Luke Kuechly retired as an NFL player this week, but one report suggests he may not be ready to give the game up entirely.
NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo reported on “Good Morning Football” Saturday that the former Carolina Panthers linebacker has considered going into coaching or working as a consultant for an NFL team.
“I just don’t think the we’ve seen the last of Luke Kuechly in the NFL," Garafolo reported. "As a player we have but this is something that he’s spoken to some folks at least prematurely about, and it’s the possibility of returning to a coaching role or some kind of consulting role.”
The seven-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement in an emotional video posted on the Panthers’ Twitter page.
“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. 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.”
Kuechly just finished his eighth NFL season and is one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Carolina uniform and one of the top linebackers in the NFL.
Kuechly's resume includes seven Pro Bowl nods, seven AP All-Pro selections with five on the first team, the Defensive Player of the Year award (2013) and the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award (2012).
He finishes his career with 1,092 tackles, the most in the NFL since he entered the league. His 18 interceptions are most by a linebacker since 2012 and third-most in franchise history. His 75 tackles for loss are tied for fifth among linebackers over that span.
Ron Rivera, who coached Kuechly through his entire career until he was fired in December, now serves as the head coach of the Washington Redskins.
The Panthers hired former Baylor coach Matt Rhule to head the team beginning in the 2020 season.