Timeline Of Andrew Luck Deciding To Retire From The NFL
Timeline Of Andrew Luck Deciding To Retire From The NFL
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INDIANAPOLIS – For nearly 4 years, Andrew Luck has battled, and even played through, injuries in his shoulder, kidney, ankle, ribs and calf.
We take a look back on when those ailments first started for Luck in trying to piece things together.
Here’s a timeline at what led to Luck’s retirement:
-September 27, 2015: On a hit from Tennessee’s Jurrell Casey, Andrew Luck first injures his right throwing shoulder. Luck finishes that comeback victory in Nashville, but goes on to miss the next two games.
-November 8, 2015: For a second time in 2015, Luck plays through an injury after lacerating his kidney early in the 4th quarter of a home win against the Broncos. Luck had returned from the first shoulder struggles to play 4 more games in 2015, but his season ended after this game against Denver. In total, Luck played just 7 games in 2015, after being under center for every meaningful snap of his first three seasons in the league.
-January 2016: Luck elects not to have surgery for his injured shoulder. Instead, the quarterback relies on rehab to heal, following the battered 2015 campaign.
-2016 Season: That plan allows Luck to play in 15 of 16 games in 2016 (he missed one with a concussion), but the quarterback was limited in practice. Late in that 2016 season, Luck plays with a heavily taped left ankle. Looking back on things, that was one of the first signs we saw to the eventual pain in that area of his body, which led to his retirement.
-January 19, 2017: Jim Irsay announces that Luck had surgery on his torn labrum and is expected to be ready for the season.
-November 2, 2017: After months of speculation on when Luck would return to practice, and even after he did throw in some limited practice settings, the Colts placed their star quarterback on injured reserve for the first time in his career. Luck missed the entire 2017 season. Luck went to Europe for an isolated two months away from the Colts. Upon returning to the states in late 2017, Luck admits he skipped steps in his shoulder rehab.
-June 12, 2018: During the team’s minicamp, Luck throws a regulation sized football for the first time in 9 months.
-September 8, 2018: On the day Luck returned to NFL action for the first time since New Year's Day 2017, a report surfaced of Luck confirming his infamous snowobarding incident from 2016. The Colts quarterback told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the accident led to an injured AC joint in his right throwing shoulder, but the injury did not impact the severity of his already torn labrum, which occurred a few months earlier in a September 2015 game against the Titans. “I've had a bunch of AC sprains, both left and right shoulder, and resolved that issue,” Luck said to Rapoport. “But the labrum has been my issue, was my issue, what I worked through, what I got surgery on." Luck does not believe the AC sprain affected his torn labrum. He was adamant it did not slow his rehab. "I've seen more doctors than I can count on two hands over the past two or three years," Luck said, "and the consensus -- unanimous -- is that the AC is not an issue, nor did it have an effect. The labrum is an issue.” With the labrum and AC issue early in 2016, Luck elected not to have surgery that offseason. He returned to football in 2016 (after also lacerating his kidney in November 2015) and had one of the best seasons of his career.
-2018 Season: After participating in 15 of the team’s 18 practices at Training Camp and the first 3 preseason games of 2018, Luck goes on to win Comeback Player of the Year. The quarterback was available for every practice in 2018, and took 99.9 percent of the team’s meaningful snaps. Several times throughout the season, Luck expressed the joy and fun he was having playing the game of football again.
-January 27, 2019: Despite Chris Ballard admitting on Saturday that Luck got ‘dinged’ in the left calf/ankle area during the 2018 season, the quarterback still plays in the Pro Bowl. Numerous NFL players sit out the Pro Bowl for the smallest of injuries, but Luck played in it this past year.
-March 2019: Jim Irsay gets a call from head trainer Dave Hammer that Andrew Luck has a “minor leg thing…but should be okay.” This is when Luck had the initial MRI on his lower left leg. Luck got married in the Czech Republic in late March. “In Europe he started complaining about (a) calf,” Chris Ballard explained on Saturday night. “We checked it out. He got back and we were still treating the calf.”
-May 2019: Luck sees a specialist, who gives him a numbing shot in his left calf region. The shot, per Chris Ballard, relieves some of Luck’s pain, but not enough for the Colts to feel completely comfortable about the situation. Luck has another MRI on the area.
-May 21, 2019: On the first days of OTAs, Luck is sidelined. Frank Reich says he believes Luck will practice at some point in the spring: “I don’t anticipate him being out the whole (spring) camp.” Luck ended up missing the entire spring camp.
-June 11, 2019: Luck talks for the first time in 2019 about the calf injury that forced him to miss a third straight spring offseason program. During that minicamp week, Luck said this about what the Colts called a ‘minor’ calf strain: “I certainly don’t feel as young as I once did and I’m certainly also being conservative with things. It’s one of the things I learned going through my shoulder. “I certainly didn’t expect (to miss the entire spring). There’s a lot less anxiety I guess in my life about it than I had in the past about certain things. But I think trusting myself, trusting the process, trusting how things go, and working hard and still pushing yourself and expecting good progress every day is a big part of that.”
-July 24, 2019: The Colts report to Training Camp, with Luck not talking on move-in day for the first time in his career. Chris Ballard said this about easing Luck back into practice mode: “Just working him back in. He didn’t do anything this spring, but making sure…we don’t want him to get out here and have a setback. We are so process oriented. If we’ve learned anything since I’ve walked in the door with the first injury he had, let’s just make sure we are taking the right steps. We are getting ready to play the Chargers (in Week One on September 8). That’s our mindset right now, making sure we are taking all the right steps with all these guys.”
-July 28, 2019: Four weeks ago Sunday was the final time Andrew Luck participated in an NFL practice. Luck’s Training Camp work in 2019 was practice in the individual period (Day 1), then progress to 7-on-7 work (Day 2), have an off day (Day 3) and then get back to 7-on-7 work (Day 4). This Sunday practice is when Luck began to feel pain in his ankle region, which caused the final setback.
-July 30, 2019: Luck talks to the media about his setback. “Opening up (when throwing) a little bit, ‘Oh, I feel like something is going to yank, something is going to pull,’” Luck said of the pain. “Or when changing direction aggressively and that’s something you need to do to play football.” On that Tuesday morning at Grand Park, Luck said he “absolutely” believed he would be ready for Week 1. But the quarterback did talk about the “emotional scars” that were/are still there from his shoulder issues. “I still have some emotional scars (from the shoulder rehab) and that lives with me still, but I’m trying to use it in a positive way certainly for myself. I know a big thing for me, a lot of what I learned from 2016-17 and implying it now, if I’m going to bed at night believing that I’ve sold myself short during the day, that I’ve forced myself to do something either I’m not ready for or I have pain, then that’s not a good thing.” This Tuesday was the last time Luck spoke to media until his retirement on Saturday night.
-August 12, 2019: After the Colts announced for consecutive weeks that Luck would miss another week of practice, Jim Irsay speaks, and some transparency finally starts to come out. On an NFL SIRIUS radio interview, Irsay said Luck was now dealing with a “little bone issue.” “I know everyone has had their questions about Andrew. But I really feel very confident that he’s going to find his way through this thing. I think after the (Kevin) Durant thing everyone is erroring on the side of caution. But, quite frankly, this is not even in the Achilles tendon. It’s in another area. It’s a bone. I’m not good at these things, but it’s a small little bone. (Former Colts) Ryan Diem had it and Raheem Brock, I think had it, the trainers told me.“ But (Luck’s) doing very well. Very excited. He’s a married man, baby on the way. And he couldn’t be more excited for the season. We wish there wasn’t any little tweaks at all, but as you know, these things come up and you’ve got to deal with them.” This revelation from Irsay creates an even murkier situation regarding what was thought to be a calf issue for Luck.
-August 13, 2019: Late on that Tuesday night, Chris Ballard has an emergency press conference to update the Luck saga. The new update had the Colts focusing on Luck’s posterior ankle area for their new diagnosis, and no longer the bone issue. “From the start, he’s been dealing with a calf injury, all in March and through camp. He was dealing with a calf, and then a little area below his calf, which Andrew kind of referred to as a lower leg (two weeks ago), where he was feeling some pain, kind of in the ankle area. The injury wasn’t getting better. He hasn’t been practicing. So in the course of dealing with this calf injury, it appears now we’ve got an ankle issue. Because the injury wasn’t getting better, we wanted to explore the area around the lower leg, that Mr. Irsay was referring to as the bone. It’s called the os trigonum. We thought that might have something to do with it. But after last night, after Mr. Irsay spoke, that doesn’t appear to be the issue, so we shifted our focus to another area. We tested his ankle yesterday (Monday) with a scan. He went and saw a specialist. And it led us to an area on the front of the ankle that needs to be addressed. It’s kind of high ankle-ish. And that’s potentially referring to the posterior pain he’s getting in the posterior ankle, up by the calf and that’s why it’s happening. We’ve been treating the calf all along and even treating the lower part of this and then getting the test done on the os trigonum, to make sure that wasn’t the issue, which we don’t think it is right now, led us to the front of the ankle.”
-August 17, 2019: Before the Colts’ preseason home opener against the Browns, Luck shows off some impressive side-to-side movement. The cameras captured it all. What no one knew on that day? Luck was already having serious thoughts about calling it a career. “I had a good idea that it might be my last time throwing at Lucas Oil as a current member of the Colts,” Luck admitted on Saturday of him going on the field before the Colts and Browns played a week prior. “And I made sure to go out there and enjoy it.”
-August 19, 2019: On an off day for the Colts, Luck comes to the West 56th complex meets with the Colts’ leaders about him possibly retiring. “We all sat down and had a talk and continued through the week,” Chris Ballard said on Saturday night. “Emotional talks on our parts. Not any negative emotional talks. Just some real honest talks.”
-August 20, 2019: Frank Reich announces that Luck will miss another week of practice. “Right now, it’s a combination of full-speed movement and pain threshold,” the head coach for the reasons Luck was not practicing.
-August 22, 2019: This is the final time Reich spoke about the Luck injury situation, pre-retirement announcement. Following the Colts’ final practice of the week, a far less revealing Reich shared this on Luck’s rehab: “I think his rehab, he’s tried to just continue to make progress. Just make progress. That’s the key.” In total, that Thursday marked the 15th straight practice Luck had missed. For the entire 2019 offseason, Luck participated in 3 of 32 practices, on a very limited basis in that trio of sessions.
-August 24, 2019: Andrew Luck retires from the NFL. Luck’s plan entering Saturday’s preseason contest against the Bears was for him to tell his teammates after the game, and then hold a Sunday afternoon press conference. But ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news with a little more than 11 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. Luck remained on the sidelines, talking with his teammates, before delivering the official news after the game: “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."