Luke Kuechly Retires from NFL at 28

The NFL offseason is still a few weeks away but its most stunning news already happened. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, a dominant force for eight seasons, announced his retirement in a tearful, heartfelt message released by the Panthers.

Kuechly, a 7-time All-Pro, suffered a slew of minor injuries in his eight season career, and had three known concussion between the 2015-2017 seasons. “There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid and that’s to play fast and physical and strong and at this point I don’t know if I’m able to do this anymore,” Kuechly said. Despite football’s impact on his body, Kuechly only missed one game in the past three seasons.

A collection of current players expressed their fondness of Kuechly including Panthers TE Greg Olsen.

Kuechly is the latest star to retire while still in his prime. It’s been less than a year since Andrew Luck stepped away. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis stepped away after the 2014 season at age 30.