Fellow Panthers Greg Olsen and Tre Boston described Kuechly as one of the best teammates they ever shared the locker room with, with Boston championing his former teammate as a future Hall of Famer.
New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas and Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram also paid tribute to Kuechly’s talent, while Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle suggested he would be sorely missed by the NFL.
While Kuechly did not mention injuries directly, football took a heavy physical toll on him. He missed 10 games due to concussions between over the last four years, including the last six games of the 2016 season.
One of the finest linebackers of his generation, Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and NFL Defensive Player of the Year the following season.
He made the Pro Bowl in seven consecutive seasons from 2013 andplayed in the 24-10 defeat to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 in 2015.
“I think now is the right chance for me to move on,” the Boston College alumnus 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.”
Carolina owner David Tepper also paid tribute to the retired linebacker, highlighting the impact Kuechly had on the Panthers.
“In my two seasons with Luke, I quickly recognized how special of a person he is,” Tepper said in a statement. “The respect he gives and garners from others as well as the positive impact he has on his peers is second to none.
“It’s obviously going to be very difficult for all of us because we know that no player can replace what he’s been for this organization for the last eight years. His presence can’t be replicated.”
The post NFL Twitter Pays Tribute to Luke Kuechly after Carolina Panthers LB Announces Retirement appeared first on Newsweek.