HomeSportsFormer NFL Star Luke Kuechly Explains He Left Panthers’ Position To Focus on ‘Hunting and Fishing’

Former NFL Star Luke Kuechly Explains He Left Panthers’ Position To Focus on ‘Hunting and Fishing’

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

Former Carolina Panthers linebacker and perennial Pro Bowler Luke Kuechly recently stepped away from his front office role to focus on his true passions of fishing and hunting.

At just 28 years old, Kuechly stunned NFL fans when he abruptly retired in January 2020. After dealing with multiple concussions during his eight-year career, the seven-time Pro Bowler decided to retire early. You can’t blame the guy, especially since he only knew how to play the game at one speed: full throttle.

Since his breakout season as a rookie, the linebacker quickly became an elite defender at his position. Kuechly was arguably the best middle linebacker in the NFL each healthy season of his career. His rare combination of intelligence, quick reactions, speed and power made him the perfect defensive weapon to roam the middle of the gridiron.

However, Kuechly has always had other interests outside of football. There’s always been much more to the Boston College graduate than chasing quarterbacks on Sundays. During the offseason, it’s well documented that the linebacker enjoyed his time off fly fishing and hunting.

Following his retirement, Kuechly joined Carolina’s front office as a pro scout. Yet three weeks ago he resigned from his position. It turns out, his passion for the outdoors is the priority for his current stage of life.

Luke Kuechly Says He’s ‘Done Playing Football’

Luke Kuechly didn’t share why he stepped down from his scouting position when he first resigned. But on Thursday, he addressed the situation and opened up on the decision.

Yesterday, the Charlotte Touchdown Club honored Kuechly and his former teammate and linebacking partner Thomas Davis. Since the NFL season begins in the fall and ends in the winter, it coincides with the best time of year to go hunting and fishing. For an avid outdoorsman like Luke Kuechly, that’s a conflicting schedule.

Therefore the former Carolina Panthers great decided to follow his passion, and put the NFL on hold indefinitely. The decision frees up the 30-year-old to spend more time with his family and friends. Additionally, he’ll have much more time on his hands to fish and hunt.

“A lot of that (hunting and fishing) happens in the fall. It’s hard to do both,” Kuechly explained, according to sports reporter Joe Person.

Furthermore, Kuechly also addressed the possibility of him suiting up for an NFL team again. While fans in Carolina have been hopeful of his return since the day he retired, there’s no need to get your hopes up. No. 59 shot that idea down fast and assured the Charlotte crowd he’s hung up his cleats and helmet for good.

“I’m done playing football,” Luke Kuechly said. “I’m just going to take my time and see what pops up.”