Panthers All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly was fairly quiet in the team’s 31-26 loss to the Saints on Sunday — with four total tackles and one hit on quarterback Drew Brees — but he was outspoken after the game, in talking about team owner Jerry Richardson.
Kuechly opened up to reporters after the NFC Wild Card game and got emotional in speaking about how he’ll miss having Richardson around. He also addressed his disappointment over the team having been eliminated from the playoffs, as the Panthers are now up for sale, and it appears that Kuechly wanted the Panthers to make a playoff run for Richardson.
“That’s not how we wanted the season to end for him and unfortunately for us, we’ll miss having him around, and he helped a lot of guys in this locker room get where they are,” Kuechly said after the game, in a video posted by the Panthers official Twitter account.
“He’s done a great job for this city,” he continued. “I think if you talked to anybody in this locker room, they’d appreciate what he did for us and what he meant to this team and what he provided to everybody in this locker room, in the state of North Carolina and South Carolina. He’s done so much for us and we owe a lot to him, and unfortunately for us, it didn’t go how we wanted it to end for him.”
Kuechly was drafted by the Panthers in 2012, and has been with the team ever since. It’s clear that he shares a close bond with Richardson, and that he will miss working alongside the billionaire, who paid $206 million for the rights to start the team in 1993.