How Did The Colts Learn That Andrew Luck Was Retiring?
How Did The Colts Learn That Andrew Luck Was Retiring?
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INDIANAPOLIS – It was a Monday off day for the Indianapolis Colts.
But inside of the walls at West 56th street last Monday, the decision makers in the organization were about to get blindsided with news from their franchise quarterback.
Andrew Luck, just 2 days after working out before the team’s second preseason game, was having thoughts about retiring.
Once Luck sat down with Jim Irsay, there was no trying to change the quarterback’s minds.
“I, again, tried to be the best sounding board I could for him, as a father of children that are older than him,” Irsay said on Saturday. “Life has its spiritual journey people. This stuff is kind of a bigger than all of us issue. I would never try to talk someone out of something that their heart really truly wasn’t into.
“So I was there to absolutely support him and counsel him. Big decisions, you hold off on, as long as you can, you hold off on. Then when you have to make them, you make them.”
And the decision Luck made, has the quarterback potentially leaving around a half billion dollars on the table in future contracts, said Irsay on Saturday night.
And it has the Colts entering a new era of football, with Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback.
Like he did last week, Chris Ballard went over the Luck injury timeline, with a few more details, on Saturday night.
His calf got “dinged” last season, but the severity was clearly not enough for Luck to even miss the Pro Bowl.
“He started complaining about (a) calf when he was over in Europe (in the spring),” Chris Ballard said. “We checked it out. He got back and we were still treating the calf, then the ankle.”
Several times on Saturday, Ballard and the Indy brass swore they had no indication from Luck, prior to that Monday meeting, that a retirement was even being pondered.
“No, I didn’t envision this,” Ballard said.
“(Luck) was the first to say that November, December of (last) year was the greatest time he had in his life,” Irsay pointed out on Saturday. “And then somewhere along the way, this dark shadow emerged in the corridors of all our hallways. And we don’t like it. None of us like it. Andrew doesn’t like it.
“I think it really comes down to him taking a step back and seeing is there a way he can gain a different perceptive point of view about putting everything into context. Obviously, these contradictions, they don’t always add up. One and one doesn’t equal two right. Everyone including Andrew at the first of the list is frustrated that it doesn’t. But right now it doesn’t and that’s what he’s going to go out and figure out for himself and his family.”
A couple of times on Saturday, Irsay still left the door open thinking there’s a chance Luck might come back and play football again.
But that long shot means little to what the 2019 season now holds for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations entering Saturday night.
“I don’t rule it out because as quickly as this thing sort of descended on us and as mysterious as it was coming upon us, it could leave the same way,” the Owner said. “That’s just a fact. It’s very hard to measure sometimes our human experiences and how we all perceive our life from our chair. I would say it’s possible.”
“But look it, we know we have to get on and get ready to play and have a great football team. We are focused on having a great season still and we really believe we can.”
Here were the opening comments from Irsay, Ballard and Reich:
-Irsay: “We wish Andrew only the best and we thank him for all his efforts that he’s done as a Colt and going forward. We have nothing but gratitude for him going to battle with us. Trust me, we’re going to be ready and show up in Los Angeles. I can promise you that, but right now we’re just thankful about what Andrew has meant to this city. I know a lot of range of emotions go through our fans and that’s a natural thing we can all relate to. It was something we were hoping that might be something that could have gone a different direction, but he had to follow his heart and that’s what he did. So again, we have nothing but gratitude and thankfulness for the blood, sweat and tears he spilled as No. 12. Part of our heart is broken tonight. We know we must go forward. We couldn’t be more fired up about our opener.”
-Ballard: “Been an emotional week. I think everybody in here knows my relationship with Andrew that formed the first day I met him. To watching him grow, to watch him through what he went through, the struggles. Overcome the shoulder, watching the joy on his face watching him play football and to the moment in Tennessee (Week 17 last season). Both of us had tears running down our face just from what I watched him go through. (To get to the playoffs ) in Tennessee. It’s been an emotional week. wish him the best. Wish Andrew Luck the best.”
-Reich: “It’s hard to put into words the emotion that you feel. Thankfully, Chris and I and Mr. Irsay have had some time to digest this. It’s been hard to digest, but we do celebrate his career. Being in that room with him the last 18 months was the experience of the lifetime, a true competitor in every sense of the word. A great teammate. One of the truly unique players to put on an NFL uniform and certainly to wear the horseshoe proud. Just getting a chance with that guy everyday was incredible. You had to pinch yourself we had so much fun in every way, but there’s no doubt when you hear him talk about the cycle of pain and injury and rehab you can feel that. You can feel it take its toll. Tonight, we celebrate what he’s done. Andrew and I had a talk in the last week to 10 days about this in a sense as much as we hurt for and with him for what he’s done, it can be equally true that we share excitement in where this organization is going in the future and I couldn’t be more thankful to work for the Owner I work for and work for Chris in this capacity and three of us are really excited about where we’re headed. As much as this hurts, and as much as we love Andrew and we love Andrew. This guy is an unique individual in every way. Tonight, we celebrate that and thank him for all he’s done.”