Panthers center Ryan Kalil retiring after 2018 season

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Two of the Panthers’ veteran leaders are announcing their plans for the future before anyone has a chance to do it for them.

Following the lead of linebacker Thomas Davis, center Ryan Kalil has announced that next season will be his final one.

This is going to be the last one for me,” Kalil said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Kalil, who has been with the Panthers since 2004, was plagued by a neck problem last year and played just six games. He’s been to five Pro Bowls and remains a good player, but with his age and injury situation, the possibility of being asked for a pay cut (he’s set to make $4.75 million in base salary, with a $2.75 million roster bonus) or a more drastic financial change was a legitimate one.

He was well enough to finish the season, but didn’t want to get into specifics about his injury situation.

“I’m of the mindset to try to keep my medical stuff as private as humanly possible,” he said. “Thus the vagueness that you get and the jokes that accompany it with me waking up with a stiff neck and things like that.”

He said not having an offseason to train last year was also a factor, after a 2016 shoulder injury. Knowing he’s not a long-term answer also gives them another item on their offseason to-do list, at a time when they are bringing in a new offensive coordinator and are in dire need of upgrades at wide receiver.