Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly says he feels good, and that’s all there is to it.
Kuechly seems ready to move on for good after a concussion during a Thursday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 16 kept him in the NFL’s three-step concussion protocol for three weeks in 2016. He was held out an additional three weeks (the last three games of the season) by the medical staff and by head coach Ron Rivera, even though he had cleared the protocol.
The concussion was Kuechly’s second in as many years, but he made it clear he’s not approaching his football career any differently, and that he wants to move on from the discussion about it.
You don’t play the game and ever think about getting hurt, because that slows you down and increases the likelihood of getting hurt. I don’t think about it. You just go out there and play.
Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who has had two concussions in as many years
“You don’t think about it,” he said after Thursday’s OTA session. “You don’t play the game and ever think about getting hurt, because that slows you down and increases the likelihood of getting hurt. I don’t think about it. You just go out there and play.
“I don’t worry about it.”
Kuechly still believes he was ready to get back on the field once he was cleared from the protocol last season. But he’s not dwelling.
“Everybody knows I wanted to play,” he said. “Everybody knows the decision was made by the coaches. So hopefully we can move on from that. I’m not going to answer any more questions about concussions because I’m done with that.”
Rivera said he made the call for two reasons: Kuechly’s long-term health, and the fact that Carolina’s shot at the playoffs was dim at that point.
“There’s some medical science that says even though a guy is cleared, the longer you wait sometimes the better,” Rivera said. “All I did was follow what the doctors were telling me and made the decision I felt was best for the young man and the team going forward.”
Now, all that’s irking Kuechly is a little back soreness. He was held out of drills on Wednesday but says he’ll work it out.
“Maybe I need to figure out a different way to sleep or something,” he joked. “It’ll be all right.”