Kuechly

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Best of Luke Kuechly, As Told By The Fans

Jason Huber
January 17, 2020 - 10:44 am

In the midst of a record-breaking season that would soon end with a Super Bowl appearance, the 2015 Carolina Panthers were up 13-3 vs. the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in the Panthers' first-ever Thanksgiving Day game. 

With 2:46 remaining in the first half, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly tracked down Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's pass while in deep coverage. 

Kuechly intercepted the ball in Dallas territory to return it 32 yards for a touchdown.

One would expect a plethora of boos from  Cowboys fans in their home stadium.

That wasn't the case. 

"LUKEEEEEEEEEE," the crowd chanted as Kuechly scored his first career touchdown. 

One play later, Romo tested Kuechly again and was intercepted for the second time in a matter of moments. 

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Arguably the greatest Panther of all-time, when Kuechly shockingly announced his retirement on Tuesday night, it had WFNZ and WBT ask on social media, what was the best memory Kuechly gave fans? Whether it was personal or a play. 

That Thanksgiving Day blowout over Dallas was the overwhelming favorite. 

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"I remember he got a pick-6 and I went outside to talk to my sister while watching the gamecast and it said 'Luke had a interception,' and I thought it was the one that just happened, but turns out he immediately got another one on Dallas's next drive," Brian Messer replied on WFNZ's Facebook.  

"Let's not forget, he essentially retired (Tony) Romo," Brandon Jarvis commented on Facebook. 

"More than anything his consistently high performance EVERY week. He clearly put in the work in the film room and was always prepared. If there is one game that sticks out to me it was the Thanksgiving game at DALLAS. He was unbelievable and led the Panthers to a dominating win! Great memories all around," Chris Craven added. 

What was the second most remembered play? Another pick-six.

This time, in the NFC Championship game later that season vs. the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium. 

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Kuechly returned Carson Palmer's pass 30 yards with 5:18 remaining in the game to seal the game, 49-15 and clinch a trip to Super Bowl 50. (WATCH HERE

To make it even more memorable, fans still remember a Panthers fan falling out of the BoFA Stadium stands while celebrating. 

The stellar defensive plays will continue to always stand out in fans heads. 

Don't forget about the pick-six vs. the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round that season just a week earlier. 

"The Pick 6 in the Seattle playoff game in 2016. The stadium was shaking after that play. Loudest I’ve ever heard B of A," Kameron Nance replied on Facebook. 

For some, it was the 24 tackles and interception game vs. the New Orleans Saints during a monsoon in December 2013. 

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"Not a single play, but I’ll always remember that monsoon game against the Saints in 2013 that solidified his DPOY and helped clinch the Panthers' first playoff spot in the Rivera-era," Brian Cotton said on Facebook. 

The list of defensive plays can go on but one of the best things fans remember is the way Kuechly represented himself off the field and the work he put into crafting his game.

"Every public moment of this man's career has been nothing short of upstanding," Travis Everhart commented on Facebook. "Got the opportunity to meet him and even before that while waiting in line you could tell he loved to give back to his fans just by watching him. The guy has done everything the right way. He played every down hard, and obviously from what you see on the field he prepared just as hard. Great guy, a legend in Charlotte/NFL, and a future Hall of Famer." 

Many fans were in awe of the time he gave either them or their kids while not on the field to sign an autograph or take a photo. 

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"I was walking home from work one day and saw him in his black Chevy Tahoe. I yelled “LUUUKKKE”and he proceeded to roll down his window and talk to me," Luke Raynor said on Facebook." 

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Yes, it's just sports, but not all athletes can make an impact both on and off the field that Kuechly has. 

Going from a nerdy-looking kid with glasses in high school to a star player at Boston College, Kuechly made himself a Charlotte icon in a short period and the memories will always be engraved in fans.

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Here's to hoping for plenty of more memories in Kuechly's post-playing career. 

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