Quarterback Andrew Luck, describing himself as “exhausted” from dealing with injuries, tearfully announced his retirement today from the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL.
“This is not an easy decision,” Luck said at a news conference following the Colts’ preseason game in Indianapolis against the Chicago Bears. “Honestly, it’s the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me. For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle – injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab – and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason. And I felt stuck in it. And the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It’s taken my joy of this game away.”
Luck, who turns 30 next month, said he’d been mulling retirement for about two weeks as he dealt with his latest setback, a leg injury that had kept him sidelined.
According to Action Network Network Luck walks away from US$58.1 million (NZ$90.7m) in future earnings. He was set to make US$9.125million this season followed by US$11 million the next two seasons along with bonus deals.
His overall contract was for five years, US$123 million which he signed in 2017.
“I’ve been stuck in this process,” Luck said. “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game. After 2016, where I played in pain and was unable to regularly practice, I made a vow to myself that I would not 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 that I’ve been in. I’ve come to the proverbial fork in the road. And I made a vow to myself if I ever did again, I would choose me in a sense.”
A four-time Pro Bowl selection and the league’s comeback player of the year last season, Luck said he spoke to his teammates following the game Saturday night after previously consulting with owner Jim Irsay, General Manager Chris Ballard and Coach Frank Reich. He had planned to make his announcement Sunday, he said. But after news broke Saturday night, some Colts fans booed Luck as he left the field and he met with reporters soon after.
“It hurt” to be booed, Luck said.
Luck, the top overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, leaves the league after seven NFL seasons, one of which he missed entirely. He got the Colts as far as the AFC championship game but never reached the Super Bowl.
The son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, Andrew Luck described himself as “quite exhausted and quite tired.” He cited the lack of progress with his leg injury, which initially was described as a calf strain but later was said to be a high ankle injury. “I feel tired and not just in a physical sense,” Luck said.
He played last season and led the Colts to the playoffs after missing all of the 2017 season following shoulder surgery.
“It’s very difficult,” said Luck, who became emotional several times during his impromptu farewell news conference. “I love this team. I love my teammates, the folks in our building, the fans, the game of football. And as part of this team, as a member of this team and because of how I feel, 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 also have a lot of clarity in this.”
Jacoby Brissett is to take over as the Colts’ starter at quarterback. He has played in 20 games for the Colts over the past two seasons, throwing 13 touchdown passes.