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Panthers legend Luke Kuechly may soon be rejoining his former team. But if he does so, don’t expect Kuechly to add to his 1,092 career tackles.
Kuechly, 31, is at least somewhat interested in joining the coaching ranks. And if he did so, he’d like for it to be in Carolina alongside interim coach Steve Wilks.
“The guys really love his energy. They love his passion and I think he cares about them,” Kuechly said of Wilks.
Moments later Kuechly added: “He’s just fun to be around and obviously his knowledge of the game is fantastic.”
After Carolina started 1-4, head coach Matt Rhule was fired and replaced by Wilks. As interim head coach, Wilks has gone 4-4, gaining plenty of support inside and outside of the organization. Kuechly is clearly amongst those supporters.
That led WFNZ’s Mac Attack hosts to ask Kuechly about joining Wilks on the sideline.
“I gotta figure that out,” said Kuechly. “I’m working with South Shore Patriots football (Pop-Warner team) right now. I gotta see if I can get out of that contract … I gotta see if that’s a vertical move or a lateral move.”
Kuechly Was The 9th Pick In The 2012 NFL Draft
Though Luke Kuechly was obviously joking about resigning from his Pop-Warner duties, this isn’t the first time he’s at least entertained the idea of coaching. In the summer of 2021, he spent time at Buffalo Bills practice assisting his former defensive coordinator, Sean McDermott, who is now the Bills head coach.
And, earlier this fall he joined former Panthers teammate Ryan Kalil’s Block Forever podcast and discussed the possibility of entering the coaching profession.
“I don’t think I’d ever say never,” Kuechly told Kalil. “I think I’d really enjoy it and have a ton of fun with it. Just the time associated . . . if I jump back in, I would have to make a choice to say no to Christmas and Thanksgiving and I’m not quite sure that I’m ready to do that.”
If he does decide to grab a whistle, he’ll instantly command the respect of the players he’s coaching. Kuechly is one of the most decorated linebackers in recent NFL history. Before retiring in January 2020, Kuechly was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year (2012), Defensive Player of the Year (2013) and awarded All-Pro honors five times. He was also named to seven Pro Bowls and on two separate occasions led the NFL in tackles.
Following retirement he spent one season as a Panthers scout.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF