By Tim Klapac, Senior Editor
The football world was stunned with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announcing his abrupt retirement at the age of 29 on Saturday. Citing numerous injuries and being “mentally worn down,” Luck walks away from football, leaving behind a myriad of questions about what he could’ve been if he stayed healthy.
When he wasn’t hurt, Luck had established himself as one of the elite young quarterbacks, setting a record for passing yards in a rookie season, and leading the Colts to multiple playoff appearances, including the AFC Championship game in 2014.
Despite his success, Luck always played behind mediocre offensive lines, forcing him to take a plethora of big hits, and spending the majority of his plays running for his life. Luck was sacked 174 times in his 86 starts.
His first setback happened when he suffered a shoulder injury during the 2015 season, causing him to miss two starts, the first of many. After a brief return, Luck was sidelined again, this time with a lacerated kidney and a partial abdominal tear, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.x
Following a 2016 season that saw him set a career high for completion percentage, Luck underwent shoulder surgery. The surgery began a long road back for Luck, who would wind up missing the entire 2017 season as his recovery forced him to travel to Europe and then Los Angeles for further treatment.
While Luck managed to play through the 2018 season without missing a start, the previous injuries continued to weigh him down, physically and mentally.
In his retirement press conference, Luck stated that he has not “been able to live the life I want to live. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football.”
Luck’s retirement brings back memories of Barry Sanders and Jim Brown, two hall of fame running backs who retired earlier than expected, despite their success on the field. Luck wants to spend time with his family before the violence of football destroys his body.
Although a comeback once he is healed is possible, Luck’s demeanor during his press conference indicated that this decision, however difficult it may be, is the right one in his mind, leaving little doubt in my mind that his career is over for good.
While I search for a new quarterback for my fantasy team, I look forward to seeing Luck contribute to the sport in other capacities in the future. Even though his playing days are over, his knowledge of football should carry to an ambassador role or a broadcasting position soon.