Article written by Derrick Jones Co-Host Rat Pack Sports Show
The news came down late Saturday night as I was sitting on the couch watching a game that involved the Colts with Andrew Luck on the sidelines. I am sure that, if I was caught off guard, then I know that everyone else was caught off guard too. One of the main reasons for Andrew Luck to call it a career is due to the injuries he has had throughout his career. A key part of that would be the last 4 seasons where he had been more in a mode of rehab than he had been practicing or training to prepare for games and upcoming seasons.
Here is a list of his injuries he's suffered during his career.
Andrew Luck injuries through 6 NFL seasons:
» Torn cartilage in 2 ribs.
» Partially torn abdomen.
» A lacerated kidney.
» At least 1 concussion.
» A torn labrum in his throwing shoulder (Missed 1 whole season).
» The mysterious calf/ankle issue that led to this.
For most, we would look at this and say, "that's not that much, or some players have been through a lot more and are still are playing in the NFL."
Well, there is an old saying, "we don't know what's going on in the mind of these players."
We as fans always think these players will play for all of that money they are making. Andrew Luck had made more than enough money in his career. The NFL needs him more than he needs them, so he's able to walk away from the game on his terms. For someone who's been battling injuries for the last 4 seasons, the physical battle is just one thing, the mental battle these guys go through with these injuries is another thing. I've been injured before (Torn ACL/LCL and Nerve Damage) during my sophomore year of college. It ended my playing career right then and there. It took 2.5 years of rehab, and I was left with Foot Paralysis from the nerve damage. The mental battle was the biggest hurdle, and that was just one injury for me. He's had 4 years straight, filled with injuries and rehab, so he is mentally drained, and zapped all of the love that he once had from playing the game, taken right along with it. I fully understand what he's going through.
As for Andrew Luck, the players on the Colts teams will be missing a big piece of the puzzle. When healthy, he's one of the top QBs in the NFL. He is an intelligent player, a field general, who understands the game so well that he's almost like an extra coach on the football field. Having that kind of player leading the pack, it makes the job a lot easier. The Colts have been more than fortunate over the last 20 years to be able to go from having a quarterback like Peyton Manning to a quarterback like Andrew Luck. Most teams are not so lucky. The NFL is a better league with guys like Luck as one of the faces of the league. On and off the field, he was nothing but professional, a true leader of men, and exactly what a Number 1 overall pick in the draft should embody. He is a very humble person who was never about himself and always put the team before him. He never threw his teammates under the bus. He never called out coaches or used the media for anything other than his job. And that's a rarity in a day and age where we see more and more players only all about their brand and hyping themselves more than their team. It was a breath of fresh air to have Andrew Luck giving us a little of that old school mentality.
There have already been talks that maybe he comes back after a year off, and his body completely healed. But I'm not so sure about that. Luck seems like the type of guy that when he goes away, he's gone. He is not like Bret Farve, who retired and came back; this is different. But maybe the door is still open for him a little bit because he's so young and when you're young, you always love the game. But then again, if his injuries had driven him to this point and if he returns (a huge if), he will have to make sure his mind and body are in the proper place for him to return to the grind. I will give him one year, but if he's gone longer than a year, then he won't return. Barry Sanders (franchise losing) and Calvin Johnson (Injuries), both retired in the prime of their careers and never returned. We will have to wait and see if Andrew Luck actually comes back to re-join his team.
Lastly, if Andrew Luck has shown us anything, that is that playing in the NFL is very tough. The preparation that goes with it is none stop. These guys train year-round to get ready for the season. The grind, the sweat, the rehabs, time away from family, and the mental and physical stress it puts on your body, is something that I'm not sure many fans understand. But if you have a guy who is retiring and leaving $70+ million on the table to step away from the game, then his decision is more about him being happy and enjoying life, and I cannot be upset or mad at any decision made on those terms. He walked away from the game on his terms.
"Good luck to you Andrew in your life after football." -From a football fan, who enjoys just watching good football. Your presence will be missed.