Earlier this year following the conclusion of the 2019 NFL regular season, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his retirement.
Just 28 years old, Kuechly called it a career after eight NFL seasons during which he suffered multiple concussions. In a video announcing his decision, the seven-time All-Pro acknowledged that he could no longer play the game with the “fast, physical, and strong” he preferred.
Though he’ll no longer play the game, Kuechly may still have an interest in staying involved with football. During an interview with Mike Tirico on NBC Sports Network’s Lunch Talk Live, the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year said he’s thought about a role in broadcasting, coaching, or a team’s front office.
While Kuechly mentioned former teammate and current Panthers special team coach Chase Blackburn as someone who could inspire a move into coaching, saying it’s the closest thing he’s experienced to playing the game, the veteran linebacker sure sounded intrigued by working as a broadcast analyst.
Check out the interview:
“When guys come in on Friday or Saturdays and you talk to the production crew, you talk to guys like [Jason] Witten and guys that have played, [Tony] Romo, and Ronde [Barber], he talks to us a lot,” Kuechly told Tirico.
“Those guys, you can tell that they played at a high level and they still have the ability to stay involved with the game. I think that part is something that’s attractive to me, just in the sense that they played it but now they’re still involved with it in an interesting role.”
Tirico then playfully attempted to test Kuechly’s broadcasting savvy, asking him about former teammate Cam Newton and the quarterback’s chances of finding a fit with a new team. Kuechly didn’t shy away from the topic, lending some insight into Newton’s personality and pointing out that Ryan Tannehill’s success last season with the Tennessee Titans drew out a blueprint for success with the right opportunity. Good analysis!
Kuechly certainly sounds like he wants to stay in football somehow. If he really wants to stay close and dig into the game, teach, and devise game plans, coaching may be the way to go.
Yet as he’s shown in his many commercials for CPI Security and Pepsi, Kuechly has the personality, sense of humor, and on-camera presence that could lead to success as a studio or game analyst. Will that be close enough to the game to scratch that post-playing itch? Only he knows for certain. But the potential as a broadcasting talent appears to be there.