After a lengthy battle with injuries in recent years, Andrew Luck is officially calling it a career.
The Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced that he is retiring from the NFL after just six seasons on Saturday night.
“This is not an easy decision,” Luck said after the Colts’ preseason game 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, I’ve been in this cycle of 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."
Luck, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, was simply “mentally worn down” after his latest lower leg injury this preseason. The Colts, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, had known that he was “seriously mulling retiring” for the past few weeks.
“I’m in pain. I’m still in pain,” Luck said. “I’ve been in this [pain] cycle ... and for me to move forward in my life the way I want to, it doesn’t involve football.”
The 29-year-old was on the sidelines at Lucas Oil Stadium for their preseason game against Chicago, too, and remained there even after news of his retirement broke. Colts fans picked up the news during the game, too, and then booed Luck as he walked off the field following their 27-17 loss.
“It hurt,” Luck said about the boos. “I’ll be honest, it hurt.”
Luck said he first started thinking about retirement as a legitimate option about two weeks ago. While it’s certainly not the way he wanted to go out, Luck doesn’t have any ill-will toward the game itself.
"Over the past week, I'd sit and think, 'Will I have a bunch of resentment toward this game, or spite toward coming into this building?' And I don't. All I feel is love for this game and love for my teammates,” Luck said. “I know my journey has had some ups and downs and physically it has taken its toll over the last four years, and that's why I'm here."
Luck’s string of injuries
Luck had yet to make an appearance this preseason while dealing with a lingering lower leg issue — one that started out with a calf injury though morphed into an ankle issue. Irsay sounded confident earlier this month that Luck would return, though added to the confusion surrounding the injury when he described it as an issue with “a small little bone” in his ankle.
Though the team remained optimistic about his return — and wanted to name a starter following the game this week — Luck has apparently made up his mind. The string of injuries, he said, had simply become too much.
“It’s a myriad of issues,” Luck said. “Calf strain, posterior impingement, high ankle sprain. Part of my journey going forward will be getting out of pain and figuring out what’s going on, how to feel better.”
Luck has battled multiple injuries over the past several seasons, most notably a lingering shoulder injury that started in 2015. Luck played in just seven games that season after hurting his throwing shoulder in their third game of the year. While he played nearly all of the 2016 season, Luck’s shoulder still impacted him — eventually forcing him to have surgery on it that offseason, which sidelined him for all of 2017.
Luck — who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft — made his official return last fall and appeared back to normal, throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns. He compiled more than 23,600 yards and 171 touchdowns over his six-season career in Indianapolis.
Colts will likely turn to Jacoby Brissett
Without Luck, the Colts will now likely turn to Jacoby Brissett as their next quarterback.
Brissett, who was selected by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, led the Colts in 2017 while Luck was recovering from shoulder surgery. He threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns that season, though led Indianapolis to just a 4-11 record.
The 26-year-old did not play on Saturday night against the Bears, though the Colts sat out most of their starters during that preseason game. He played in their first two preseason games, however, going a combined 10-of-15 for 121 yards and a touchdown.
"Jacoby Brissett is an awesome dude,” Luck said. “He's got a bright future, he's diligent. Sharp. Loves football ... Cannot wait to support him and see him lead this team. I’m excited for the future of the Colts, in large part because of Jacoby.”
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