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Luke Kuechly, Panthers Linebacker and Reigning Defensive ROY, Talks About The Upcoming Season

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(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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Bustin Loose: 4-25-13: Luke Kuechly, Panthers Linebacker and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, joined the guys to talk about his role as a leader on the Panther defense, the First Round of the 2013 NFL Draft and expectations going into next season.

Just a few hours before the 2013 NFL Draft, Kuechly was kind enough to spare a few minutes to give us his thoughts on the upcoming season, but much like the rest of the nation, Luke’s thoughts were on the City of Boston, where he is currently in the process of finishing his degree.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, but all the people that I’m friends with and all the people I know at Boston College were ok. So, in that aspect, I guess we got lucky.”

With all the demands that come along with being a professional football player, we asked how he’s able to balance everything else while finishing his education, and how important is that degree to him.

“It’s one of those things that no one can take away from you. Football will end eventually. Hopefully, it;s a long time, but you need something to fall back and always going to be there for you,”

It was a spectacular rookie campaign for Luke, but he shared with us some of the things he’s really going to work on to make himself an even better player this next season.

“There’s a whole bunch of things. I think one of the thing you can never do too much of, is understand the playbook. The better you can understand what you’re doing and what other guys are doing, the faster you can become a leader… One of the bigger things is pass coverage. There’s some thing I could work on there.”

Ron Rivera raved about this linebacker group and heralded them as possibly the most athletic corps in the entire NFL.

“I think we have a great opportunity to be really good. I’m pumped to be able to to play with Thomas Davis and Jon Beason, and those guys have been around and playing a hwile. They know what they’re doing and they’ve done a great job helping me.”

It was a memorable first season for the rookie linebacker, so we asked him if he envisioned himself as the starting middle linebacker of the franchise for the foreseeable future.

“I would hope so. The thing is, you need to stay healthy, and I’m trying to do my best to do that. But I’d love to be here in Charlotte for awhile.”

On the even of the First Round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he reminisced as to what his experience was on draft night, just one year ago.

“I took it easy. I was just at home, and some of my friends and family ended up swinging. So we had a little deal, but nothing too wild.”

After having spent a fulle calendar year in the City of Charlotte, Luke seems to have found himself a home there.

“It’s a good city. I think the thing I find the best is the weather, but there’s a lot going on… The Downtown area is nice. It’s safe and clean, You can get around easily, and it’s been a really good spot so far.”

The 2013-2014 NFL schedules were released last week, so we wondered if he had sneaked a peak at it yet.

“We have Seattle in the first game and that’s really all I’ve looked into. We have an early bye week, and that’s kinda really all I’ve taken a peak at.”

The Panthers have come out of the gates slowly the past couple seasons, so what types of things need to happen in order to avoid that fate once again?

“We played well in games early on, but we weren’t able to finish them. That’s what it comes down to. You have to play the whole game and you can’t let your foot off the pedal until the game’s over. There’s quite a few games that you look back on and wish we could have had two or three plays back, and that’s kind how games are decided. You have a handful of plays, whoever makes those plays wins. So we need to play the whole game and finish. That’s one thing we’re going to stress this year.”

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