(FOX Carolina) -- Linebacker Luke Kuechly has announced his retirement from the NFL after eight seasons, according to a press release from the Carolina Panthers.
Kuechly has played in seven Pro Bowls during his time in the NFL, and also was awarded Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
Kuechly provided a statement within the press release on his retirement:
"I think now is the right chance for me to move on," Kuechly said. "It makes me sad because I love playing this game, I've played it since I was a kid. It's my favorite thing in the world to do. The memories I have from this place and this organization and being on the field with these guys – they'll never go away.
"In my heart I know it's the right thing to do… There's only one way to play this game since I was a little kid – play fast, play physical and play strong. And at this point I don't know if I am able to do that anymore."