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Luke Kuechly pumped up Panthers with halftime pep talk

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly isn’t among those that come to mind when you think of motivational speakers on the Carolina Panthers.

He leads more by example than words.

But shortly after suffering a concussion on a collision with running back T.J. Yeldon late in the first half of Sunday’s 20-9 victory at Jacksonville, the two-time Pro Bowler spoke up.

Kuechly also took a few moments to motivate teammates in the huddle before being escorted to the locker room after the injury.

“Luke, to his credit, from a leadership standpoint, came through where we needed him on defense at halftime,’’ defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said on Monday. “He came through and was pumping the guys up and everything. We knew then that he was OK. I think that helped the players just emotionally, mentally.

“And then spiritually he got them up to where they needed to be to start the second half.’’

The Panthers held the Jaguars to 75 yards and no points in the second half without Kuechly, whose status for this Sunday’s home opener against Houston is uncertain while he goes through the concussion protocol.

“I don’t know what he said or what really went on, but it’s obvious those guys have a lot of respect for him,’’ tight end Greg Olsen said. “His voice and presence carries a lot of weight.’’