Luke Kuechly has retired from the NFL. Here, we look at the potential benefits of the Cincinnati Bengals bringing one of the best players to come out of Ohio home.
Cincinnati native Luke Kuechly put together an impressive 8-year career. Over the course of his tenure with the Carolina Panthers, Kuechly amassed 1,000 plus tackles, 12.5 sacks, 67 defended passes, and 18 interceptions. That stat line in combination with the intensity and passion he brought to the game makes him one of the most prolific linebackers to ever come through the league.
Beyond his on-the-field impact, the 28-year-old is known for his tremendous leadership and work in the community.
In his retirement announcement, it was evident that the former Panther linebacker still has a love for the sport. Many began to speculate whether he would be interested in a coaching role rather than stepping away from the league entirely. NFL Network reporter, Mike Garafolo, had this to say on “Good Morning Football“,
"“I just don’t think the we’ve seen the last of Luke Kuechly in the NFL, as a player we have but this is something that he’s spoken to some folks at least prematurely about, and it’s the possibility of returning to a coaching role or some kind of consulting role.”"
If the rumors are indeed true, the Cincinnati Bengals have connections to Kuechly that would make Cincinnati a logical landing spot for him.
Kuechly’s Alma mater, St. Xavier High School, is just a 15-minute drive from Paul Brown Stadium. If he wants to be close to his hometown and family while still staying connected to the game, the Bengals would provide that option.
Beyond the perks of location, the Bengals are entering what looks to be a linebacker overhaul this off-season. With only Germaine Pratt guaranteed to return, their promises to be new faces among the unit who could use the advice from a player of Kuechly’s caliber. With his natural tendency to lead, Kuechly would undoubtedly enjoy getting to mentor young players who would be eager to learn from him.
Finally, the Zac Taylor era has been one of a youth movement among the coaching staff. Taylor has made a number of hires that lack experience in favor of the innovation and new ideas they bring. Luke Kuechly could certainly fall under that category.
The team recently made the hire of Al Golden to lead their linebacker room, seemingly closing the door for another hire. Still, Kuechly could be brought on as an assistant or simply a consultant, as mentioned before.
The Bengals will have two main competitors vying for the all-pro’s services, should he choose to go the coaching route.
First, the Panthers, who he played his entire career for, would likely be an intriguing option for Kuechly. However, with so much coaching turn-around in Carolina this off-season, the Bengals may have an advantage there.
If the Bengal’s hometown connections are enough to beat out other franchises, Kuechly would provide a great example for Cincinnati’s young players, along with a unique style of coaching with an emphasis on pass coverage. That could be exactly what Taylor and company need to turn around one of the weakest positions on their roster.