Despite suffering his second concussion in the last two years, Luke Kuechly says he is not yet done with football.

Panthers LB Luke Kuechly: No Plans To Retire After Second Concussion

The Carolina Panthers All-Pro middle linebacker stated Wednesday he has no plans to retire from the NFL just yet.

Kuechly, 25, has missed seven games in the past two years with concussions, including the last four this season.

He added that although he appreciates the overwhelming concern of his family and his friends around the league, “I’m holding off that retirement word for probably a little ways down the road. … Whenever my opportunity comes back, I will be back out there.”


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Kuechly’s teammate, quarterback Cam Newton, expressed some fear earlier this season after his concussion. The linebacker, however, defiantly stated he is not worried about the long-term effects of concussions, which have been linked to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in football players.

“I’m not worried about (CTE) and I think there is a lot to be learned from it,” Kuechly said.

Kuechly was cleared by independent physicians to play Monday night against the Washington Redskins, although head coach Ron Rivera erred on the side of caution and kept him out for at least one more week.

Rivera hasn’t decided if Kuechly will play against Atlanta on Saturday, or at all for the rest of this season.

“He wants to play, but I have told him that I have a lot of things to weigh,” Rivera said.

The Panthers (6-8) will likely miss the playoffs this year.

Kuechly has four years remaining on a six-year, $62 million contract he signed in 2015.

The team’s first-round pick out of Boston College in 2012, Kuechly was injured on Nov. 17 after a collision with New Orleans Saints running back Tim Hightower.

The linebacker hasn’t played since sustaining the concussion, although he continues to practice every day.

Kuechly, praised by defensive coordinator Sean McDermott for his high football IQ, has spent the last four games on the Carolina sidelines holding a clipboard and playing the role of assistant coach.

“The great thing that he has done best is he has stayed involved in everything that we do,” safety Kurt Coleman said. “He’s the ultimate teammate. Whether he’s playing or not playing, he’s so focused on the details and he’s helping everyone around him whether he’s on the field or not. He’s not letting the situation take away from the team.”

CHARLOTTE, NC – NOVEMBER 17: Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers returns a blocked field goal against the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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