The Carolina-to-Buffalo pipeline just brought a future Hall of Famer to Bills training camp.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott has shown a penchant for bringing former players and coaches from his days as defensive coordinator of the Panthers, and this week brought one of his star pupils. Luke Kuechly, who retired in January 2020 after eight seasons in the NFL, paid a visit to practice and has been doing some work with the Bills linebackers, which could be a prelude to a new role for the former Defensive Player of the Year.
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Kuechly Shares His Expertise
Video from training camp on Monday showed Kuechly decked out in Bills gear as he led the linebackers in some drills. As Jenna Callari of WKBW noted, the visit made a big impression on some of the players. Veteran defensive lineman Star Lotulelei said it was great to have his Kuechly sharing his experience, especially for the younger members of the Bills defense.
“I think he’s a great source for Tremaine and even Matt [Milano], but really anybody in that room can learn so much from how to be professional to how to be great at his position,” Lotulelei said after practice, via WKBW. “He’s such a smart player – how he saw the field, how he saw plays, what he saw. I think they can learn and I think these guys are a little spoiled having Luke in there. I’d take advantage if I was anybody in that room.”
As Callari noted, McDermott has been calling on some of his other former players to help out during training camp. Longtime Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander also made an appearance earlier in camp.
Kuechly Could Eye Coaching Role
Speaking to the Panthers official website last year, Kuechly said he had a a desire to stay around the game after he retired, ultimately taking a role as a pro scout with the Panthers.
“I explored some other things, and they were all really cool opportunities. But I like being around the team, I like being around Charlotte, I like the guys upstairs (in the front office), and this will give me, I think, the closest thing I can get to playing,” he said.
The Panthers legend could be looking to take on a bigger role in football — though not just yet. Kuechly resigned from the scouting role earlier this year and said he wanted to take some time to focus on his family and some other passions.
“A lot of that (hunting and fishing) happens in the fall. It’s hard to do both,” Kuechly said of his decision to resign from the scouting role.
If Kuechly does decide to pursue a coaching role, the Bills could be a potential employer. Under McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane — who also came from the Panthers — the team has brought in a number of coaches and players from Carolina.
There is an indication that Kuechly could be playing a larger role with the Bills than other former players who made an appearance at training camp. As WKBW’s Matt Bove noted, he was seen at camp for three straight days this week, working with linebackers and helping out with drills.
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