Luke Kuechly, one of the best linebackers in the NFL, retires from the league after eight years of abusing the Tampa Bay Buccaneer offense.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers breathe a sigh of relief tonight as Luke Kuechly has followed in Andrew Luck‘s footsteps and stepped away from the game long before a decline was evident. The NFL has lost a great player, but this is a move that helps the Buccaneers immensely in the long run.
Kuechly has been one of the most accomplished linebackers in the NFL during the past eight seasons. During this time, Kuechly was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and has been a five-time First-team All-Pro member, a two-time Second-team All-Pro member, and a seven time Pro Bowler.
While a division rival of the Buccaneers, fans have to appreciate what Luke Kuechly was able to do in just eight short seasons. Over the course of this time he was able to accumulate 1,092 tackles, 18 interceptions, and 75 tackles for loss.
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Jameis Winston, who struggled mightily with throwing picks to linebackers this past season, will likely rejoice at the prospect of having to worry about one less stellar defender in the NFC South like Kuechly. The Carolina Panther defense was looking poised to be one of the best units in the league next year, but this move certainly sets them back to the benefit of the Buccaneers.
Kuechly’s career is certainly one to celebrate, just not by a Bucs fan. Having to play the Panthers twice a year with Kuechly is a concept that makes any offensive player uneasy. The Buccaneers can look forward to this departure both for on field success and off field accolades.
It is no secret that Kuechly’s presence both on Pro Bowl rosters and All-Pro rosters is one of the reasons that Lavonte David has been snubbed as far as personal awards are concerned. Over the course of the last six years Bobby Wagner and Luke Kuechly have dominated the inside linebacker voting for the Pro Bowl in the NFC. Kuechly moving on seems like just the move to shift Lavonte David into the spotlight that he rightfully deserves.
As a fan of football, it is impossible to not appreciate what Kuechly was able to do. An incredibly high level of play for a sustained period of time like that is extraordinarily difficult and will be hard to emulate unless your name is Bobby Wagner or Lavonte David. The Panthers will certainly be reeling from this which will be in the best interest of the Buccaneers and their future matchups.
The Bucs are on the verge of the playoffs under Bruce Arians and their path just got substantially easier. Two games a year that were once marked by a difficult matchup against one of the best linebackers in the league has now become just slightly less concerning. The NFC South has taken yet another step closer to being the Buccaneers’ to lose.