Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly shocked the football world by announcing his retirement Tuesday night at the young age of 28 after earning seven Pro Bowl trips.
Though, it was just a continuation of star players retiring in the prime of their careers in order to preserve their health post-football.
In talking about Kuechly’s retirement, one of the linebackers set to take over for him as the face of that position around the NFL had some eye-opening remarks.
Set to take on the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, second-year San Francisco 49ers star Fred Warner had this to say.
“When you’re young, you think you’re going to play forever,” Warner said, via the SF Chronicle. “Your dream is to play in the NFL, and you think you’re going to play 20 years. But it’s a violent game and it takes a toll on your body. I don’t try to think too far ahead, because your career could be over in a matter of seconds.”
Warner, 23, has morphed into one of the game’s best backers. This past regular season saw him record 118 tackles, nine passes defended, three forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown.
Though, his remarks tells us everything we need to know about the mentality of young players in today’s NFL. They already have an understanding that careers no longer last as long as they used to.
It was just a half-decade ago that then-young 49ers linebacker Chris Borland retired from the NFL after just one season. Borland was just 22 years old at the time of his retirement.
More than anything, this is going to end up being a continuing theme around the NFL. Kuechly’s retirement and the reaction to it adds another layer to that.