Kuechly is Defensive Rookie of Month

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly has been named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month for December, the league announced Thursday.

Kuechly, who led the NFL in tackles, helped the Panthers get hot at the end of the season. Carolina won its final four games.

Kuechly is only the second player in Carolina history to win Defensive Rookie of the Month. Julius Peppers (in 2002) was the first.

Kuechly began the season on the outside, but moved to the middle after Jon Beason suffered an injury. Kuechly also should be a strong candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year.