Andrew Luck Explains His Retirement From the NFL


Andrew Luck Explains His Retirement From the NFL

Blog > Kevin's Corner > Colts Coverage > Andrew Luck Explains His Retirement From the NFL

Andrew Luck Explains His Retirement From the NFL

Following Saturday’s preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium, Andrew Luck took to the podium and shared his thoughts on why he retired from the NFL.

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – The news, as shocking as you will ever see in sports, was true.

But this wasn’t the plan.

Andrew Luck didn’t want to go out like this.

Not with the boos, the loudest he’s ever heard rain down on him, inside of the building where his picture is plastered on the side of it.

And not standing up in front of the podium wearing a ‘ratty’ t-shirt (Luck’s words) with a teary-eyed Chris Ballard, Jim Irsay and Frank Reich looking on.

Those emotional scars from his labrum days a few years back Luck had mentioned less than a month ago?

They were real, and eating at him too much to keep trying to play the game that he loved.

I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road, and I made a vow to myself that if I ever did again, I’d choose me, in a sense,” an emotional Luck said late on Saturday night, deviating often from a prepared written statement. “In 2016, after that season, which I played through some stuff, I made a vow to myself that I would never do that again. I was not in a good place and I felt that the past week and a half, two weeks. It’s also a big part of why I’m here right now.

“I know that I am unable to pour my heart and soul into this position, which would not only sell myself short but the team in the end as well. And it’s sad, but I have a lot of clarity in this.”

ICYMI: Colts teammates and the NFL world offer their thoughts on Andrew Luck retiring

The thought of retirement, Luck said, first crept into his mind seriously around two weeks ago.

It’s been 4 weeks since Luck last practiced, with the Colts continuing to say that the quarterback was making progress.

But mentally, and physically, the quarterback definitely was not taking steps forward.

On Saturday night, Luck mentioned a calf strain, a posterior impingement and a high ankle sprain as continued ailments that had him believing it was time to end his NFL career before he turned 30 years old.

“It’s been a little bit fast and furious in the lack of progress on my ankle,” Luck said. “I’m in pain. I’m still in pain. I’ve been in this cycle. It’s been four years of this injury-pain cycle. For me to move forward in my life the way I want to, it didn’t involve football. 

“I feel quite exhausted and quite tired. I do know once I hit the point where I felt like I knew what I needed to do and I talked to (wife) Nicole and my folks and some close friends and had some very difficult conversations with Mr. Irsay, Frank and Chris.

“It did seem like, in a sense, a weight was lifted. It’s been tiring. I feel tired and not just in the physical sense.”

Just one week ago, Luck was inside of Lucas Oil Stadium moving around the field in warmups like a quarterback who physically looked like he would be able to give it a go in the regular season opener.

Deep down, though, Luck knew something no one else inside of Lucas Oil Stadium knew.

“I had a good idea that it might be my last time throwing at Lucas Oil as a current member of the Colts,” he revealed on Saturday night, of his workout one week prior.

“And I made sure to go out there and enjoy it.”

One week later, with former head coach Chuck Pagano on the visiting sideline, the quarterback was being booed off the field, once his stunning retirement news broke early in Saturday’s 4th quarter of the Colts and Bears preseason game.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I heard the reaction,” Luck said after the game.

“It hurt, I’ll be honest.”

Being honest with himself is something Luck swore to himself after his 20-month absence from the NFL following the 2016 season.

Late last season, a healthy Luck said he was having the most fun he’d ever had playing the game of football.

But then the calf injury lingered, and lingered. More rehab, and uncertain diagnosis, followed.

And it was too much for the soon-to-be father.

On Saturday, Luck mingled with teammates during the game like it was a normal preseason contest.

The original retirement plan was for Luck to address his teammates after in the post-game locker room, before officially announcing things at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

But, like the unfortunate health issues he has had, that plan did not unfold like he wanted it to.

Luck, who turns 30 years old next month, leaves with 3 years and around $64 million remaining on a contract that, at the time, made him the highest paid player in the NFL.

The quarterback says he and his wife will continue to call Indianapolis home, but he will no longer do it as the quarterback of the Colts.

“I feel so much clarity and so grateful for the experiences and the positive times that I have had here,” a tearful Luck said before walking out of Lucas Oil Stadium for one final time as an NFL player.

Colts Coverage
On Thursday, the Colts had their first ‘real’ practice of Week Three. What was learned at the Colts complex on Thursday afternoon?
Colts Coverage
Early in his rookie campaign, safety Khari Willis is seeing an already growing role. Why have the Colts expanded Willis’ playing time?
Colts Coverage
What was the other Colts’ news of the day on Wednesday besides on the Chad Kelly front? Here’s a notebook look at the Colts’ first ‘practice’ of the week.
Colts Coverage
Why have the chunk plays been missing from the Colts passing game early in 2019? Here are Frank Reich’s thoughts on that element of the offense.
Colts Coverage
ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Colts worked out 6 kickers this week. Let’s meet the kickers that were brought in with a struggling Adam Vinatieri.