INDIANAPOLIS — As word spread Saturday night, Aug. 24 that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is retiring, some fans booed the four-time Pro Bowler after a preseason game against the Chicago Bears, but Luck received support from teammates and other NFL players, coaches, and owners, who know firsthand the extent of the mental and physical toll a pro football career can bring.
During his career, Luck suffered a lacerated kidney, a torn abdomen, torn cartilage, and a concussion. Injuries kept Luck, 29, from playing in the preseason, but fans at the game in Indianapolis were clearly upset about the news. Cameras caught one man even taking off his Luck jersey as the game ended.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear it,” Luck told reporters afterward. “Yeah, it hurt.”
James Irsay, the owner and CEO of the Indianapolis Colts, said at a press conference Saturday, “We have nothing but gratitude and thankfulness for the blood, sweat, and tears he spilled as No. 12.”
“For those people that booed tonight, it’s an emotional time, and I understand that, but this young man has done a lot for the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Colts,” Chris Ballard, general manager, said.
“You literally had to pinch yourself,” Frank Reich, head coach, said. “We had so much fun in every way, but there’s no doubt, when you hear [Luck] talk about the cycle of pain, and injury, and rehab, you could feel that; you could feel it take its toll.”
“I think as fans, even as players sometimes, we forget there’s life after this game,” Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback, told Seahawks.com. “I think a guy like Andrew, he’s one of the most dedicated guys. This game can take a toll on us physically, but also emotionally, spiritually, and everything else. I think he’s demonstrated it with class the whole time he’s gone through everything.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees tweeted: “We all loved watching him play. I love watching his film. I like being around him. I wish him the best, whatever that direction is for him.”
Luck signed a five-year, $122 million contract in 2016, according to spotrac.com. He would have earned a base salary of $9.125 million in 2019 and a roster bonus.
But even leaving that money behind, some supporters still see a bright future ahead for Luck, who has an engineering degree from Stanford University.
“I hope he becomes president of the United States,” Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys team owner told reporters Saturday.