Andrew Luck prepares for life after the NFL

Christopher Bean, Assistant Sports Editor

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Yes, you read Adam Schefter’s tweet right on Saturday night, quarterback Andrew Luck has retired from the NFL. Shocking is an understatement on what happened in the Colts organization. The news broke out during the middle of a week three preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

“It’s been unceasing and unrelenting both in season and off season,” Luck said describing the injuries he’s suffered the last four years. The franchise quarterback “made a vow” to never again experience what he went through in 2016. Unfortunately, Luck has never fully recovered since his injuries dating back to 2015. He led the Colts to the playoffs in his first three seasons and won consecutive division titles in 2013-14. After staying healthy in his first three years, 2015 began the downside of playing in the NFL, injuries.

In week three of the 2015 season, Luck got his first two injuries of the year against the Houston Texans. He suffered a sprained shoulder that kept him out for two weeks. He also suffered torn cartilage in his ribs, however, that news wasn’t reported until after the season. Later in the year, Luck again suffered two different injuries in the same game against the Denver Broncos. He suffered a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle that ended his season for good. He only played seven games, and the Colts missed the playoffs at 8-8.

In 2016, Luck played through most of the pain and only missed one game due to a concussion he suffered against the Tennessee Titans. However, it was the second year in-a-row the Colts missed the playoffs at 8-8. Luck finally had shoulder surgery after the season. After the surgery, Luck had some setbacks and was unable to start the 2017 season. After a slow start for the Colts and more uncertainty of Luck’s return, Luck was placed on Injury Reserve in November and missed the entire 2017 season. The Colts went 4-12 and Chuck Pagano was fired.

Frank Reich became the new head coach, and Andrew Luck came back healthy in the 2018 season. The Colts got off to a dreadful 1-5 season, but ended the regular season winning 10 of their last 11 games. They defeated the Tennessee Titans 33-17 on the road in week 17 to earn the second Wild Card spot in the AFC. They defeated the Texans 21-7 in the Wild Card round. Their run ended against the Kansas City Chiefs 31-13 in the Divisional round, and what would be Luck’s last NFL game.

Luck suffered a calf strain in March that has sidelined him for most of this year’s offseason workouts and all of training camp. After all of that, Luck finally said Saturday enough was enough.

Luck retired at age 29 and spent seven seasons in the league. You hate to see a player of his caliber retire in the middle of his prime, but you can understand why he made the decision. When you play in the NFL, you put your body on the line every Sunday, and you can only do it for so long. For example, consider Calvin Johnson and more recently, Rob Gronkowski. Arguably two of the best players to play their position, however, Johnson only played eight seasons, while Gronk played nine. Now you may understand why sometimes NFL is referred to as “Not For Long.”

Luck’s timing was obviously what shocked people the most about Saturday night’s retirement. The Colts were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl this year and no doubt had the best roster since Luck has been there. To make matters worse for the fans, when the news came out, Andrew Luck was on the sideline. If I was a fan in that moment, I would applaud him for all the great memories, and then leave and not come back for a long time.

When Andrew Luck went to the locker rooms, his fans booed him off the field. Luck said, “Yeah, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I heard the reaction. Yeah it hurt.” Obviously you can feel his pain after sacrificing so much for the Colts franchise.

Before Luck arrived, Peyton Manning was the man in town, then was traded to the Broncos after missing the 2011 season due to a neck injury. In the 2012 NFL Draft the Colts drafted Luck number one overall from Stanford. Since then, Luck led them to four playoff appearances in the six years he started at QB, and was a Pro Bowler every year they made the Playoffs. They won the AFC South twice and went to the AFC Championship in 2014. Luck had a record of 53-33, throwing for 23,671 yards with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions.

Luck never got a chance to play in a Super Bowl or win MVP, which makes it even harder to swallow. What could have been? There is no doubt in my mind the Colts could’ve been in a Super Bowl in the next three years with Luck under center, and potentially an MVP for him. However, injuries plagued him into a short career. Now, he’ll get to enjoy his life outside of football, and won’t have to worry about getting beat up on Sunday’s. And now we’re stuck thinking, what could have been?

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