Luke Kuechly will remain sidelined for Panthers’ season finale

Jesse Reed

The Carolina Panthers aren’t taking any chances with the long-term health of All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who will once again remain on the sidelines for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Head coach Ron Rivera made this decision public speaking with Pat Kirwan of “Movin’ the Chains” on SiriusXM on Tuesday, per the team’s website.

“Going forward, it’s what’s best for him,” Rivera said, “it’s what’s best for the organization.”

After clearing the league concussion protocol a couple of weeks ago, Kuechly was a healthy scratch the past two games. Rivera has made it clear that the team’s biggest concern going forward was Kuechly’s long-term health and noted that he’d “err on the side of caution” regarding Kuechly’s availability to play.

Originally injured during the team’s Thursday night matchup against the New Orleans Saints in Week 11, Kuechly left on a stretcher and was crying buckets of tears. The tears could have been more a  symptom of the concussion than any disappointment he was feeling at the time, as many have suggested.

The Panthers are making a very smart decision to keep the linebacker shelved through the end of the season. His concussion was the second major head injury in as many years.