When Andrew Luck was selected first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, the prevailing belief was that he would be leading the next generation of signal-callers. With Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson aiding the cause, Luck would be the man that helped replace Tom Brady and Peyton Manning after they retired.
That did not play out as expected considering Luck shockingly retired on Saturday night while Brady is preparing to play another season in New England.
Given that Brady and Luck have faced off six times since 2012, including two playoff battles, it would be expected that the Patriots QB would have some thoughts about a young star stepping away from the league. Granted, Luck never actually defeated Brady, going 0-6 in those matchups, but he still played well enough to earn the respect of his peer.
“It is his life. Everyone has the right to choose what they want to do," Brady said on the Greg Hill Show. "He had a great career and he was a great player. Everybody wishes they could be healthy all the time. It is a contact sport and he’s certainly had his fair share of injuries, so guys retire at different times. Some at the end of the season, and I have seen a lot of guys retire before the season gets going and this is just one of those examples.”
Unsurprisingly, Brady was well aware of the boos that rained in from the crowd following the news of Luck's sudden retirement. This certainly didn't paint the Colts fanbase in the best light, but Brady didn't take much stock in what they did in this moment. As he continued to explain, emotions, while powerful, only last for a brief moment.
“I think emotions are just that. They come and go," Brady said. "In the moment, I try and not make any decisions on emotion. We are emotional beings. They just ebb and flow. That is just part of life in my view."
Whether the fans were sincere in their booing is irrelevant considering that the damage has been done. This gesture soured Luck's final moments in Lucas Oil Stadium and made the fanbase look like a group of ungrateful children in the eyes of other players and the general public.
Fortunately for Luck, he walks away from the NFL with the respect of his peers, including that of Tom Brady. The Patriots QB has played against some of the all-time greats during his lengthy career, and he believed that Luck was a truly great player.