Linebacker Luke Kuechly, who starred at Boston College before becoming a five-time All-Pro with the Panthers, announced Tuesday night he is retiring from the NFL.
The 28-year-old took to social media to make his statement, describing the reasons for his decision.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play this game since I was in fourth grade. I’ve been with the Panthers now for eight years. It’s never the right time to step away, but now is the right time for me,” he said. “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.
“I want to thank my family,” he added. “My mom and my dad, Eileen and Tom Kuechly. My two brothers, John and Henry. My girlfriend, Shannon. They’ve been with me since the beginning. They’ve been very supportive and I’m happy to share this journey with them. Thank you Panthers fans. Thank you everybody in the NFL for your constant support. Now is the time to move in a different direction.”
In three seasons at Boston College, Kuechly set the school and ACC career tackle records with 532. A first-round pick of the Panthers in 2012, he was named to the Pro Bowl seven times, and twice led the NFL in tackles.
Kuechly is one of several high-profile players who have retired before the age of 30 in the last few seasons, a group that includes Andrew Luck, Rob Gronkowski, and Jerod Mayo.
Follow Christopher Price @cpriceglobe.