Saints Panthers Football

Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) is seen on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. 

CHARLOTTE — Linebacker Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers, a first-round pick out of Boston College in 2012, is retiring.

The team reported the news on its web site on Tuesday night,

"I think now is the right chance for me to move on," said Kuechly, 28. "It makes me sad because I love playing this game, I've played it since I was a kid. It's my favorite thing in the world to do. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys — they'll never go away.

"In my heart I know it's the right thing to do… There's only one way to play this game since I was a little kid — play fast, play physical and play strong. And at this point I don't know if I am able to do that anymore."

Kuechly's resume includes seven Pro Bowl nods, seven AP All-Pro selections with five on the first team, the Defensive Player of the Year award (2013) and the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award (2012).

He finishes his career with 1,092 tackles, the most in the NFL since he entered the league. His 18 interceptions are most by a linebacker since 2012 and third-most in franchise history. His 75 tackles for loss are tied for fifth among linebackers over that span.

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