NFL journalist Lindsey Prather discusses the factors leading up to quarterback Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement, and what it means for the Colts.
On Aug. 24, the NFL commu-nity was rocked to its very core. Indianapolis Colts starting quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement after only seven seasons, sending shockwaves throughout the NFL community. In an emotional press conference, Luck cited recurring injuries and near-constant rehabilitation as the primary reasons for his sudden retirement.
Luck has the important distinction of being one of the top quarterback prospects in the last decade. After leading the Stan- ford Cardinals to a 12-1 record his sophomore year, Luck was projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft.
However, he instead elected to return for his junior year, during which he had similar successes and an 11-2 record. The following year, he was yet again expected to claim the first overall pick.
His alluring potential even prompted a push for NFL teams to “Suck for Luck.” Fans urged their favorite teams to lose their final games in order to improve their chances at the first pick in the draft.
The Indianapolis Colts ended up being the lucky team, sporting a 2-14 record following the departure of former starting quarterback Peyton Manning.
However, as a result of mismanagement and misplaced priorities on behalf of the Colts’ front office, a majority of Luck’s career has been overshadowed by lingering injuries.
Even so, Luck was still able to secure a Pro Bowl position in his first three seasons. By 2015, his injuries began to snowball. During the season, he missed several weeks due to a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle.
To make matters worse, his 2016 season was plagued with a recurring shoulder injury that would eventually force him to miss the entirety of the 2017 season. Although he showed some promising signs in 2018, it eventually became clear that he had still not fully recovered.
After years of lackluster personnel moves from his front office, Luck’s retirement seems to be the logical conclusion. During the dawn of Luck’s career, the Colts faced criticism for failing to prioritize their quarterback’s safety following a series of questionable draft picks, trades and free-agent signings that failed to bolster their offensive line. Instead of securing the safety of their coveted first-overall draft pick, the Colts elected to sporadically and unpredictably collect low draft picks that mostly failed to pan out.
The final issue came about during the Colts 2019 training camp. Luck was absent with what was initially diagnosed as a calf strain. However, following several days of speculation, the Colts suspiciously announced their intentions to be cautious, specifically citing Kevin Durant’s devastating Achilles’ injury.
Later, Colts owner Jim Irsay described the injury as a bone injury, eventually confirming that it was, in fact, an ankle issue.
Luck’s sudden retirement leaves the Colts in a limbo of sorts. It also forces their back-up quarterback Jacoby Brissett to rise to the occasion without a full offseason of preparation.
The Colts have every reason to be apprehensive of their future without Luck. During the 2017 season, the Colts fell flat with a 4-12 record, directly leading to the firing of coach Chuck Pagano. The contrast is especially apparent considering that, the very next year, a still-injured Luck led them to an admirable 10-6 record and won a playoff game.
Despite his undeniably positive impact on the Colts, Andrew Luck capped off his career facing the boos and jeers of former fans in Indianapolis, following their final preseason game against the Chicago Bears.
Although there is a slight possibility of a comeback similar to that of Peyton Manning’s, there is no question that Andrew Luck’s time as an Indianapolis Colt is over.