Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly isn’t ready to hang up the cleats.
Kuechly, one of the NFL’s best players, has suffered multiple serious concussions over the past few years, the most recent a devastating affair in which the team had to cart him off the field. He hasn’t played since.
For his part, though, Kuechly isn’t thinking about quitting football at all. Quite the contrary—he wants to be back out there as soon as possible, according to the Associated Press’ Steve Reed:
Kuechly said that while he appreciates the overwhelming concern friends around the league and family have for him, “I’m holding off that retirement word for probably a little ways down the road. … Whenever my opportunity comes back, I will be back out there.”
Kuechly was actually cleared for last Monday’s game, but the Panthers held him out as a precaution. He understands:
“They’re the boss and I have to listen to what the boss says,” Kuechly said. “Whatever they decide is going to be the plan and we’ll see what happens.”
Kuechly trying to get back on the field is rather scary, especially because a handful of players have come out and said he should sit out the rest of the season.
Look, Kuechly wanting to be out there with his team is understandable. But the Panthers are 6-8 and won’t sniff the playoffs. Risking his long-term health, if he’s so intent on doing it, for two meaningless games doesn’t make any sense.
Don’t be shocked if the Panthers decide to hold him out the rest of the season.