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Sport Opinion: Luke Kuechly retirement continues NFL trend. Good for him, and for fellow players

14:31  15 january  2020
14:31  15 january  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

Luke Kuechly announces retirement

  Luke Kuechly announces retirement The Panthers have had a good week . . . until Tuesday night. That’s when Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement. “I think now is the right chance for me to move on,” Kuechly said, via Max Henson of the team website. “It makes me sad because I love playing this game, I’ve [more]

Carolina Panthers player was one of best linebackers in league . Luke Kuechly , one of the finest linebackers of his generation, has announced his retirement at the age of 28. Kuechly did not give a specific reason for his decision in the video, but indicated that injuries meant he was no longer able

Luke Kuechly stunned Carolina Panthers fans and players throughout the NFL with the announcement of his retirement on Tuesday night at age 28. To help make this website better , to improve and personalize your experience and for advertising purposes, are you happy to accept

Luke Kuechly’s words rolled off his lips at a measured clip, and almost monotone.

Luke Kuechly was the 2013 NFL defensive player of the year. © Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports Luke Kuechly was the 2013 NFL defensive player of the year.

“It’s never the right time to step away,” the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker said early in the video message released for him by the Carolina Panthers late Tuesday night. “But now is the right time for me.”

One of the NFL’s best inside linebackers — scratch that. One of the NFL’s best defensive players, period, is walking away from the game. At the age of 28. And with two years and more than $20 million remaining on his contract.

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Scott Fowler: Why Greg Olsen says Panthers' Luke Kuechly is 'very at peace' with his retirement

  Scott Fowler: Why Greg Olsen says Panthers' Luke Kuechly is 'very at peace' with his retirement Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said Wednesday that his close friend Luke Kuechly was "very at peace" with his decision to retire from football at age 28. "Luke and I have seen each other many times since the season ended," Olsen said in a phone interview with The Observer. "And I think it's nice to see him feel so strongly about this. That doesn't mean it was easy. It was “Luke and I have seen each other many times since the season ended,” Olsen said in a phone interview with The Observer. “And I think it’s nice to see him feel so strongly about this. That doesn’t mean it was easy. It was hard. But he seems very at peace.

Kuechly 's announcement sent shockwaves around the NFL . Naturally, the former No. 9 overall pick's decision to retire early sent shockwaves around the NFL , and his teammates, as well as several other NFL players sent their congratulations to one of the best inside linebackers As a fellow linebacker in the 2012 draft, Luke Kuechly was the cream of the crop. Luke Kuechly announces NFL retirement .

Luke Kuechly 's surprise news Tuesday night added to the growing list of players — great players — choosing to step away from football at a relatively In Kuechly 's case, he's suffered three known concussions. He knows more about brain injuries and their effects than most people on the other side

The news brought with it initial surprise. But as Kuechly’s message to the world continued, it was evident how well thought-out a decision he was making. As teammates and opponents alike flooded social media with expressions of respect and well wishes for the eight-year veteran, it was evident, they got it.

Good-byes are never easy, especially when they seem premature. But as Kuechly joins Rob Gronkowski and Andrew Luck to become the third elite-level player in the last year to retire before his 30th birthday, his decision featured a large degree of normalcy as well.

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Luke Kuechly can find comfort in retirement knowing he's the best player in Panthers history

  Luke Kuechly can find comfort in retirement knowing he's the best player in Panthers history No Carolina player has dominated the NFL the way Kuechly did for eight seasons.The scene was ordinary. A kid, roughly 13 years old, combing through a pile of shirts at a Charlotte-area Dick's Sporting Goods looking for the right size. He had help from an adult, a relatively tall and athletic-looking young man but an unsuspecting figure wearing a plain gray tee.

Luke Kuechly announced his retirement after eight NFL seasons. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly became the latest star NFL player to walk away from the sport at a young age, announcing his retirement Tuesday night a little more than three months shy of his 29th birthday.

Kuechly said he appreciated the concern when asked specifically about a Bleacher Report piece that quoted anonymous NFL players imploring Kuechly to sit out the remainder of the season and consider retirement . "I know you appreciate those guys who want what is best for you and it's a thing we'll

They still love pro football. That’s for sure, especially hearing Kuechly talk.

“It makes me sad because I've played this game since I was a little kid and it's my favorite thing in the world to do,” he said, and at one point he did fight back tears.

But Kuechly, while valuing the privilege of playing his boyhood game at the highest level, values health and long-term quality of life even more.

At least three concussions and two shoulder surgeries since 2015 have taken their toll on his body and his mind. And despite coming off of another 16-game, 100-plus-tackle season that saw him earn Pro Bowl and second-team all-pro honors, the linebacker didn’t feel like he could continue to adequately devote himself to the sport.

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After Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly retired from the NFL on Tuesday at 28 years old, fellow players chimed in on social media to express their shock and celebrate his career. "The only way to play this game, since I was a little kid, is to play fast and play physical and play strong," Kuechly said.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is voted the 7th- best player in the NFL by his peers on "Top 100 Players of 2016."

“There's only one way to play this game since I was a little kid — play fast, play physical and play strong,” he said. “And at this point I don't know if I am able to do that anymore.”

And so, he’s walking away.

These days we talk about the player empowerment era because of the way NFL stars have begun carrying themselves as businessmen. Some hold out for contracts that offer greater financial security. In some cases, they force their ways out of bad situations and into more favorable and competitive working environments.

But decisions like Kuechly’s, Gronkowski’s and Luck’s also fall under the player empowerment umbrella.

Because of the mega contracts high-profile players now often receive, guys are more financially secure. They can make more money in a shorter period of time compared to football players from a generation ago. And that gives today’s players the freedom to walk away from the game on their own terms; with their health — physically and mentally — intact instead of miserably hanging on and subjecting their bodies to punishment just for a paycheck.

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NFL responds to Luke Kuechly 's surprise retirement at age 28. Kuechly said his final farewell from his favorite place besides the field, the linebackers room at Bank of America Stadium where he watched "While I wish we could have him for many more years, he has done everything the right

NFL Players React to Kuechly ’s Revelation. It didn’t take long for Kuchley’s fellow teammates and colleagues across the league to hear of his departure, and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen was one of the first to congratulate his teammate on a remarkable tenure.

This generation of NFL star only needs the league but for so long. For decades, the game has mercilessly chewed up and spat out players — even the elites — once they were deemed inadequate. Those cruel dismissals often took the battered warriors by surprise.

Now, however, we’re seeing players wise up. They’re capitalizing on opportunities, maximizing earning potential, dabbling in investments, and then they get out before they’re too broken in mind and body to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Don’t be surprised if we see more of this.

Sure, we’ll have the Tom Brady’s and Drew Brees’ who continue playing past 40, because they can and love the game. Guys like Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson will continue to lace ‘em up, chasing coveted records and hoping to simultaneously luck into a Super Bowl run in the twilights of their careers.

Plenty of other 30-plus-year-old Pro Bowl-caliber players will remain addicted to the competition, the adrenaline rush of the arena, the comradery of the locker rooms, and they will continue to play although they’ve fully secured enough wealth to pass down for generations.

But others will weigh the short- and long-term risks. They’ll consider the grueling demands of preparation, the pressures of performing at an elite level, the frustrations of ever-changing rules and maddeningly inconsistent officiating, and they’ll choose not to subject themselves to any of it any longer.

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Linebacker Luke Kuechly has announced his retirement . Kuechly was a force whenever he stepped onto the field and quickly became one of the best linebackers in the league . He was 2013’s defensive player of the year— his second year in the NFL .

Luke Kuechly , the former NFL defensive player of the year, is walking Luke Kuechly is walking away from the NFL at 28. In a stunning move Tuesday night, the A seven-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time all-pro, he quickly established himself as one of the best off-ball linebackers in the NFL .

Those same players will pursue other interests and enjoy their families to the fullest.

The league has been trending this way.

In 2014, we saw San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retire after just one season — a campaign in which he earned all-rookie honors — because he didn't want to subject himself to the long-term risks of concussions. That same offseason, seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis retired at the age of 29. In the winter of 2016, perennial All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson retired at the age of 30.

Then came Gronk, Luck and now Kuechly.

The coming year could feature more than three early departures. And eventually, we’ll think nothing of it.

Because as was the case with Gronkowski and Luck, Kuechly received no words of criticism from within the football community. Teammates, opponents and coaches were all happy that their brother had the flexibility to make such a decision.

And as the Kuechly retirement story broke, the words of advice uttered Sunday by Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch after possibly his last game (following a three-game comeback from retirement to help the Seahawks attempt a run at the Super Bowl) rang even more true.

“Take care of y'all mentals, y'all bodies, y'all chicken (money), so when y'all ready to walk away, y'all walk away and you'll be able to do what y'all want to do.”

That’s exactly what Kuechly did and is doing.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones and listen to the Football Jones podcast on iTunes.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Luke Kuechly retirement continues NFL trend. Good for him, and for fellow players

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