The Get with Morgan Fogarty: Luke Kuechly
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – “I think everybody knows I want to play, but at this point, it’s up to the coaches and Mr. Gettleman. Whatever they decide, I’ll be for. If I’m playing, I’ll be out there, but if I’m not playing, I’ll be on the sidelines, helping the guys as much as I can,” says Luke Kuechly.
No definitive answer from one of the league’s most popular players on whether he will play again this season or in the Pro Bowl, even though doctors have cleared him.
About the Pro Bowl, Kuechly says, “We need to get through the next few games and see what happens and we’ll kinda go from there.”
Retirement is not on Kuechly’s radar. He tells WCCB News @ Ten’s Morgan Fogarty he is OK, excited to play again and that his family supports him. He says, “My parents are parents, and they want to make sure I’m OK. But they trust what’s going on here and they trust what’s going on as far as what I’m telling them.”
He wants you, the fans, to know this: “I want them to know I’m OK and I want them to know I’ll be out there as soon as I can and I appreciate all the support and I’m excited to get back out there.”
It’s been a disappointing Panthers season. Kuechly says 1 or 2 plays cost us some games. When asked for a quick take on the phrase some have used to explain, in part, the team’s performance this year, Kuechly has a lot to say. Fogarty asked, “Super Bowl hangover?” Kuechly replied, “False.” And, “We lost a couple games close, I wouldn’t necessarily call it because of hangover. The game can go either way based on a few plays and we just need to make those plays going forward and the last few weeks, like I’ve said, we’ve been able to make those plays. I wouldn’t associate it with a hangover. I think that implies a lack of care, lack of effort, lack of preparation, lack of concentrating on the now and we don’t have any of that. I think guys are very focused, I think guys came into the season with a mission to get back to the Super Bowl. Like I said, the games don’t always go your way and I think ‘hangover’ implies a wrong thing and doesn’t necessarily characterize our team and what we’re about and how hard we work and how we prepare. So I think the word ‘hangover’ is false. You can say what you want, but our team is very driven to succeed and Coach Rivera heads that whole thing up. We just gotta make a few more plays. I don’t think it’s anything to do with a lack of effort, a lack of preparation, a lack of care, it’s just we gotta make a couple more plays.”
Fogarty asked Kuechly what advice he would give to Panthers GM Dave Gettleman this off-season, if Gettleman were to ever ask the linebacker for his opinion. The 25-year-old player smiled and said, “If we could have some big misters, you know the big misters on the sideline? If he could give those to us at training camp. That would be my one piece of advice.” Fogarty asked, “Any personnel advice?” Kuechly replied, “He’s the boss of that. I let him to that. He’s done a good job for us so far, we’ll let him handle that.”
Fogarty also asked Kuechly whether he’s worried about any fear or nerves when he does step back on the field. And, he had some great, funny answers when we played word association. You can watch that here.