Andrew Luck retires. Andrew Luck retires? This something we may have been prepared for in 2029. However, to utter those words in 2019 was unthinkable even a few short days ago. At 02:28 on Sunday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news on twitter that Luck had told the Colts of his intention to retire. To say this sent shockwaves through the NFL community is an understatement. Luck has been plagued with a lower leg injury all offseason, but it seemed he would see at least some NFL action this season.
Back in 2010 when I was just starting to get into the NFL, a good friend of mine was my source of all NFL related knowledge. (check out his awesome Scottish football blog @Nareystoepoker) Whether it be info about teams, players, the draft – he was my go to guy. It was he who introduced me to Andrew Luck. On our first trip to an NFL game in London, I vividly recall him telling me about this outstanding college QB who was definitely going number 1 in the draft. This QB from Stanford was going to take the league by storm. From that moment I was fascinated with Andrew Luck.
Entering the League
Andrew Luck was projected to be the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he joined the NFl. He decided to return to school for a further year.
As predicted by my friend (although now obvious with hindsight) the Colts picked Luck at number 1 in 2012 and ensnared themselves Peyton Manning’s successor. Draft experts were quick to anoint him as the best prospect to hit the NFL since Manning himself over a decade earlier. Daniel Jeremiah, of the NFL Network, has since revealed Luck is the highest
graded QB he has ever scouted.
The first few year in Indianapolis went as well as could be expected. Luck led the Colts to the playoffs in 2012 and 2013. 2014 saw them go even further, reaching the AFC championship game. Everything seemed on course – playoff appearances, 3 Pro Bowls and a conference Championship game.
Cracks start to appear
The 2015 season was the first in which Andrew Luck missed game time. An injured shoulder saw him miss 2 games early in the season. Worse was to follow when in November, when it was revealed he was injured during a win over the Broncos. A lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle was the diagnosis. Luck wasn’t seen again for the rest of the season.
2016 was a better year overall for the Colts #12. He missed a single game due to concussion but had a sterling season, registering a career high pass completion percentage.
However, the offseason following this was infamous. Luck underwent shoulder surgery for an injury which has lingered since 2015. Varying reports over the weeks and months followed, all speculating when the Colts star QB would see the field. Eventually he was shut down for the whole 2017 season.
Shoots of Recovery
After not playing an NFL snap for a whopping 616 days, Andrew Luck returned to action against the Bengals in week 1 of the 2018 season. Although tentative at first, including Jacoby Brissett being brought on for a ‘hail mary’ attempt, Luck and the Colts had a storming end to the season. A 4th Pro Bowl selection followed. Luck was also given the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award by the Pro Football Writers Association. With smart drafting by GM Chris Ballard, a ton of cap space and Luck’s star shining brightly once more, the Colts seemed set for a strong 2019 season.
Andrew Luck Retires
Unfortunately, things were not all roses in the Colts garden. As I’ve previously written about, Luck has struggled with a mysterious lower leg injury all offseason. It was to be the straw that broke this camel’s back.
As rumours begun swirling around the twittersphere in the early hours of Sunday morning, it became abdunantly clear that they were true. An emotional farewell press conference soon followed. The unthinkable had happened. Andrew Luck retires. I can’t help wondering if the previous Colts front office had done a better job of protecting Luck from an O-line perspective he may still be playing. Houston Texans take note.
Having banked several millions of dollars over his 7 years in the league, the world is Luck’s oyster. Still only 29, clever, articulate and with a bachelors degree in architectural design, he won’t be short of offers. His dad is also the commissioner of the the fledgling XFL and I’m sure they’d kill to get their hands on Luck in some form or another. Whether he goes into coaching, broadcasting or walks away from football entirely, he is likely to succeed. He announced something in June of this year that will outstrip all joy he experienced from playing football – he and his wife are expecting their first child.
Finally, those who boo’d Luck as he left the field after the Colts preseason loss to the Bears should take a long hard look at themselves. The guy gave it his all over 7 years with the Franchise. Walking away for the good of his health and family should be lauded, not derided. Surely the saying ‘It’s better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all’ rings true.
23,671 passing yards. 1590 rushing yards. 171 Touchdowns. 89.5 Passer rating. Thank you, Andrew.