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Panthers HC Ron Rivera confirmed Wednesday that MLB Luke Kuechly will sit out Sunday's season finale against the Buccaneers. Kuechly has cleared the concussion protocol, but Carolina has elected to keep him out of the final few games. Two straight seasons of multiple-game absences for concussions raises questions about Kuechly's long-term future, though he has said he's not considering retirement. We'll see what else this story has in the offseason. A.J. Klein will start in his place again, but OLB Shaq Thompson has passed him to sit #2 behind Thomas Davis in playing time among Carolina LBs.

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Panthers LB Luke Kuechly has announced his retirement. Kuechly just finished his age-28 season and 8th NFL campaign. He hasn't missed a game since 2017 and has missed just 1 game over the past 3 seasons. Kuechly famously lost the ends of his 2015 and 2016 seasons to concussions, and those issues likely factored into this decision. Kuechly has reportedly played through other issues even while not missing games the past 2 years. His departure leaves Carolina likely looking for a replacement this offseason. Shaq Thompson just signed a 4-year extension in December and will continue to start. Jermaine Carter looks like the best bet for a replacement on the current roster. The 2nd-year, former 5th-round pick played full time in the final 2 regular-season games with Thompson out.

Panthers MLB Luke Kuechly has cleared the league concussion protocol, the team announced Friday. Kuechly is officially questionable for Sunday's game against the Buccaneers, but we should expect him to play after full practices all week. IDP owners rejoice.

Panthers MLB Luke Kuechly put in a full practice Wednesday but remains in the concussion protocol. HC Ron Rivera told reporters after practice that Kuechly appears to be on track to play Sunday against the Buccaneers. S Kurt Coleman (knee) also put in a full practice and might be on track to return. He has missed the past 3 games, including last week after he returned to limited practices.

The Panthers have ruled MLB Luke Kuechly out for Sunday's game at Chicago with the concussion he suffered last Thursday against the Eagles. It's been an odd situation. After entering him in the league protocol, the team said Kuechly didn't actually suffer a concussion. But he hasn't returned to the field since. We'll see how long this absence persists. Kuechly lost 3 and then 6 games to concussions the past 2 years. David Mayo is expected to start in the middle for Carolina. Thomas Davis should see a full snap allotment, though, with Mayo likely leaving in certain passing sub packages. Shaq Thompson has been playing full time for about a month.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Panthers MLB Luke Kuechly has passed his concussion testing and that the team doesn't believe he actually suffered a concussion in Thursday night's loss to the Eagles. That's an interesting development, given that the team announced Kuechly was in the protocol after the game. But it's obviously good news after Kuechly lost 9 games to concussions over the past 2 years. Barring any late-developing symptoms, we'll expect Kuechly to be active for Week 7 at Chicago.

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