Saturday night, shocking retirement news rocked the NFL as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck opted to call it a career just two weeks prior to the 2019 regular season. At only 29 years old, Luck was purely in the prime of his career despite recovering from a nagging calf injury. However, he decided at this point in his life, it was time to step away and be with his wife while enjoying trips around the world.
Without Luck in the starting lineup, the supposed AFC South champions became yet another team that will be fighting for a playoff spot. Backup-turned-starter Jacoby Brissett is a solid quarterback overall, but he doesn't have the experience of Luck, especially in big games.
Needless to say, news breaking about Luck's retirement while the Colts were in the midst of a preseason battle caused a wild reaction on social media. Some people were in the middle of fantasy football drafts and lost their starting quarterback before the season even started. Others, especially those that played with or against Luck, were simply caught off guard and wanted to know the reasoning for his decision. Regardless of background, however, the consensus from social media was that the NFL was losing one of the most beloved players.
Let's go through the reactions to Andrew Luck's news.
Despite appearing "ratty" in his athletic shirt, Andrew Luck still stepped to the podium and explained his decision to walk away from the NFL. There were constant questions about his decision to retire, and now he has provided clarification. The Colts quarterback stepped to the podium following Saturday's preseason game, holding an impromptu session that served as a confirmation of his decision. During his presser, Luck explained that having to play through pain was one reason for his decision to retire. Similarly, he was in a constant cycle of injury and rehab, which took his joy away.
If there was ever any doubt about Luck's effectiveness as a quarterback, a quick look at the stats quickly shows that he was deserving of being the top overall pick in 2012. As Hall of Famer Gil Brandt pointed out on Twitter, his passing yards and touchdowns both rank among the league's best throughout the first six years of a career. Luck is second all-time in touchdown passes through the first six years, trailing only Hall of Famer Dan Marino, and his passing yards are third all-time. That's some serious production.
Most passing TDs in first 6 NFL seasons:
Dan Marino 196
Andrew Luck 171
Peyton Manning 167
Russell Wilson 161
Most passing yards in first 6 NFL seasons:
Peyton Manning 24,885— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 25, 2019
Dan Marino 23,856
Andrew Luck 23,671
Matt Ryan 23,472
While there were many reactions to Luck retiring, the surprising ones came from the Indianapolis Colts fans. A reporter for the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis posted a video showing the Colts quarterback walking off the field. Unfortunately, the majority of fans were booing Luck at the top of their lungs. This was a shocking reaction considering that Luck has led this team to the playoffs multiple teams and provided constant hope for a Lombardi Trophy. Yet, they opted to go with a move that was described as classless.
As Luck explained during his postgame presser, he heard the crowd booing. His reaction? "It hurt...it hurt."
Watching Andrew Luck explain his cycle of injury, it appeared that he was legitimately taking a weight off of his shoulders. Having to deal with all of these injuries, whether big or small was a struggle for the former number one pick (2012), and he simply felt that it was better to walk away from the game after four years of "the pain cycle." While some did believe that four years was an exaggeration, Luck's statement was proven correct by NFL Research. The account listed all of the injuries that he has dealt with throughout the last four years.
As ESPN's SportsCenter account reminded everyone, Andrew Luck was the person who defined sportsmanship. It didn't matter if he was taking a beating or putting up 50 points on an opposing team, Luck was always taking time to say positive things to his teammates and opponents. Even when Terrell Suggs and other defensive ends were slamming him into the dirt, Luck simply would say, "good hit, big boy" or something along those lines. He loved playing football and had respect for anyone that made a solid play.
We'll miss Andrew Luck's sportsmanship.August 25, 2019
Ian Rapoport was able to provide some much-needed clarification on the shocking retirement news. According to his report, Luck wants to travel the world, and doesn't love the game as much as he used to. Now that he is married, it's time to step away and spend time with his wife. Of course, injury concerns also played a factor after he dealt with shoulder surgery, a kidney laceration, and a nagging calf injury, but that wasn't the primary factor.
The #Colts have known that QB Andrew Luck was seriously mulling retiring for at least two weeks. He’s married, he plans to travel the world, and once the love for the game waned, it sounds like he wanted to step away. So, he did.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2019
Andrew Luck just upset the Juice, which is never a good thing. Shortly after news broke that Luck was retiring, OJ Simpson took to Twitter to film his reaction. Apparently, the former Bills running back was in the middle of his fantasy draft, and he had just selected Luck to be his starting quarterback. That was some poor timing on Simpson's part, so he tried to convince Luck to come out of retirement.
Andrew Luck had such a major impact on the NFL that he impressed players on opposing teams. Leonard Fournette is a running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he has been on the losing end of games against Luck more times than he would like to admit. Despite dealing with the constant losses to the Colts, Fournette still has respect for what Luck achieved during his NFL career and how he approached the game.
Taking this time sending my prayers to Andrew luck man y’all don’t know how much we put in for this sport, yes it’s draining but than we love it so much at the same time...... #LoveLuck— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) August 25, 2019
TJ Lang, who played guard for both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions, was completely caught off guard by the news of Andrew Luck's retirement. However, he quickly transitioned to thinking about what is really important. Is the Colts quarterback healthy? Yes, Luck was scheduled to make a considerable amount of money as part of a five-year, $122.9 million contract, but money isn't that helpful if you aren't healthy.
Andrew Luck retiring????????? Oh my. What a talent. I hope the guy is alright. Health is way more important than $$ in this game.— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) August 25, 2019
One of the individuals to send their thoughts about Luck's retirement was Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. While most people think about the 2018 battle between these two top quarterbacks, their relationship actually extends far prior. According to Carr, these two have played against each other dating back to high school, so there is definite mutual respect.
Wow... always enjoyed playing against him since high school! Wish him the best. https://t.co/J3MqtXQZtN— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) August 25, 2019
Sometimes, the reaction to shocking retirement news is a lack of words. No one in the NFL expected Andrew Luck to retire, especially mere days prior to his 30th birthday. Well, it happened, and it caught former Houston Texans quarterback and current NFL Network analyst David Carr by complete surprise. He didn't even know what to say.
Dearest Mother..........— David Carr (@DCarr8) August 25, 2019
CBS Sports knows exactly how to channel the general reaction of the NFL. Who expected to see one of the game's brightest stars walk away during the prime of his career? Entering the season, the Colts were set to recapture the AFC South once again and coast to the playoffs, especially with all of the added weapons. Well, if this run happens, Andrew Luck will not be part of the journey.
Describe Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement news with a gif. pic.twitter.com/eoxJeMofGA— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) August 25, 2019