The Carolina Panthers have ruled out middle linebacker Luke Kuechly for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans due to a concussion.
It will be the first game ever missed by Kuechly, who had started all 52 games in his first three seasons in the NFL.
Signed to a five-year, $62 million contract earlier this month that made him the highest-paid middle linebacker in the game, Kuechly sustained the concussion in the second quarter of last week's 20-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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The two-time All-Pro selection was hurt while tackling Jaguars rookie running back T.J. Yeldon. Coach Ron Rivera on Friday said that Kuechly was progressing in the league's concussion protocol but the team downgraded him to out on Saturday.
A.J. Klein is expected to start in place of Kuechly, who was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.