- Luke Kuechly played for the Carolina Panthers for eight years.
- In 2020, he retired from professional football in an emotional social media video.
- The reason behind his difficult decision was completely out of his control.
An eight-year veteran of the Carolina Panthers, linebacker Luke Kuechly retired from professional football at the young age of 28. The difficult decision was "the right thing to do," according the the NFL alum, despite his clear heartbreak. So what was behind his emotional choice? Details are ahead.
Why did Luke Kuechly decide to retire if he loves the game of football more than anything?
In 2020, linebacker for the Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly announced in an emotional Twitter video that he was saying goodbye to his football career, despite his relatively young age.
"It's a tough decision, I've thought about it a lot," the longtime athlete shared, going on to tearfully say he knows it's the right time to move on, despite feeling "sad" about leaving the NFL behind.
It turns out that Luke, who said in the video that football is "his favorite thing to do," had suffered several devastating injuries over the course of his professional career, including concussions in 2016 and 2017, per ABC News.
The injuries left him sidelined, and concerned for his health.
"There's only one way to play this game since I was a little kid — play fast, play physical and play strong,'' Luke said during the difficult announcement of his retirement. "At this point, I don't know if I am able to do that anymore.''
Luke went on to express that he hoped to still be involved with football in some way.
What does Luke Kuechly do today years after his retirement from professional football?
Following his retirement from the NFL due to repeated concussions — at least three that were documented — Luke was able to keep ties to his beloved sport and the connections he made while playing.
According to The New York Times, he spent a season as a scout for the Panthers, and today, Luke coaches youth football alongside his former teammate Greg Olsen.
He also advocates on behalf of traumatic brain injury awareness.
He told the outlet in his 2023 interview that in recent years, the NFL "has done a really good job of trying to keep the players safe on the field and give them the opportunity to be safe in their return to play as well."
Still, he acknowledged, "I think everybody in the NFL understands that it’s a violent game. It’s physical, it’s tough. There’s big strong guys running around, and getting hurt is kind of inevitable."
Meanwhile, the former linebacker said about his own long-term health following years of injuries, "I’m not worried about it, but I’m very aware of it."
His advice to the parents of young football players like the ones he coaches? "Hey, you do what you think is best for your child. You’re their parent. You ultimately know what’s best for them."
Still, overall, Luke thinks the positives outweigh the negatives of playing football. His love for the game is evident.