Andrew Luck's Decision To Retire

He made the right choice. The best choice.

Jim Rome
August 27, 2019 - 9:56 am
Andrew Luck

USA Today

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Andrew Luck announced his retirement on Saturday night. And then then the molten lava takes came flying right in. But before I get into all this reaction to his decision and I have plenty of thoughts on that, let’s talk about the decision itself.

Let’s talk about the fact that a generational talent decided at 29 that it was time to walk away from the game.

In the moment, it was shocking. But then as you start to think about it, rationally, and not as an irrational, butthuart Colts fan, but really think about it, the shock wears. And it makes a ton of sense. And that it’s the right. The absolute right call. And I’m happy the guy made it. 

A couple weeks back, I brought up the fact that Luck wasn’t playing in a preseason game against the Browns. And that the issue he’d been dealing with since March, a calf strain, had moved or evolved or changed or grown. Or something.

What it hadn’t done in the nearly six months since it had been noticed was healed.

And it’s clear from the news on Saturday night that it might not be close to healing. And that it was another part of a four-year run of pain for Luck.

“It’s the hardest decision of my life, but it’s the right decision for me. For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, and it’s been unceasing and unrelenting both in and out of season and I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out of it is to no longer play football. It’s taken my joy of the game away.”

He went on: “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. In 2016, I played in pain and made a vow to myself that I would never go down that path again. I find myself in a similar situation, and the only way forward for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle. I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road.”

It wasn’t just a fork in the road, it was the end of one road and the start of another.

And it was clear from watching that impromptu press conference that was not a knee-jerk decision. Nor was it easy. And he sure as hell isn’t taking the easy way out.

If anything, everything around him would’ve been saying to keep going. This was looking like the best Colts team he’d ever played on. He was coming off the best season he’d ever played. If he could miss the first few games, get right, and then play, he could be looking at a Super Bowl run.

But he chose the smarter path. Andrew Luck is a very smart person. And this might be the smartest thing he’s ever done. And the most courageous.

This isn’t about toughness or about proving how much you love the game. And I’ll get to you losers who think this is about that, in a moment. And not that I should have to do it, but I’ll remind you about all the hits he took, all the injuries he suffered.

This is about someone who’s been living in physical and emotional pain for four straight years and was facing the possibility of that continuing without end.

So don’t come in here and tell me that you would’ve toughed it out through a calf strain, because this clearly wasn’t a calf strain. Because if it was, Luck would’ve played through it.

I get it. It sucks. It really does.

It sucks because we’ll never get to see how good he could have been. Because when he was on the field, he wasn’t just good, he was great. He was incredible at Stanford and played a huge role in turning that program around.

Two-time All-American, two-time Heisman trophy runner up. The first pick in the draft by the Colts, he was a can’t-miss pick.

And he lived up to the hype. Every time he played 16 games, he was a Pro Bowler.

How many times did he single-handedly carry the Colts to a win?

How much better would he have been now that he actually has an offensive line to protect him?  Btw, a good way not to have your franchise quarterback retire before turning 30, is too put a legitimate offensive line in front of him before he turns 30.  There’s that. 

And how many more moments would there be like him bringing Indianapolis back from down 38-10 in the second half to beat Kansas City 45-44 in the playoffs?

And don’t come in here and degrade this decision by saying that Andrew Luck is weird or he’s different. Or that he’s complicated. Or inscrutable and we’ll never really figure him out. Why? Because he has interests outside of football?

Because he likes ping-pong and travels to Europe? That doesn’t make him unusual that makes him human. That makes him a person with interests and with a life.

Yes, he’s on a team that could win a Super Bowl. Yes, he’s coming off the best year of his career. This cat missed all of 2017 and then came back and played better than he has before. That’s how tough and badass he is.

But a Super Bowl ring doesn’t matter if you can’t walk. An MVP trophy won’t matter if you can’t remember it. A gold jacket doesn’t matter if you can’t put it on.

He made the right choice. The best choice. And I’m happy for him. A lot of you seem to have an unbelievable threshold for his pain; and no concern for the quality of the rest of his life. This guy gave it and you everything he had. And now he’s had enough. And is ready to move on with his life. I suggest a number of you do the same. And that fact some of you won’t let this guy, leads me to believe, that you have no life to move onto.  But this guy. This guy….does.