SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Dan Wolken reacts to the news that Andrew Luck will retire from the NFL and explains why we should all be understanding of this decision. USA TODAY
As fans, teammates and fellow players across the league react to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s unexpected retirement, his former assistant weighed in on what drove him to that decision.
“Knowing his toughness and his mental toughness, this does surprise me,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arian said Sunday. “Something has got to be wrong somewhere, because I know he loves the game so much. I did two of their games (as a TV analyst) last year and he was running off the bus to come say ‘Hi’ and tell me how the team was doing, the young receivers and how excited he was, so to see it was very disheartening.”
Arians was Luck’s first NFL offensive coordinator after the Colts selected Luck No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft. Though Arians went on to coach the Cardinals the following season, where he remained through 2017 before he announced his retirement, he and Luck remained close. (On Jan. 8, the Buccaneers announced that they had lured Arians out of retirement and hired him as head coach.)
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In their only season together, Luck completed 54.4% of his passes for 4,374 yards with 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Indianapolis advanced to the postseason with a 11-5 record after a season in which it went 2-14. The Colts lost their wild-card round matchup 24-9 to the Baltimore Ravens.
Luck made the announcement that he would retire Saturday night in an emotional press conference after the Colts-Bears preseason game. Luck, 29, cited being emotionally exhausted with the grueling rehabilitation process of dealing with numerous injuries.
“(The injuries have) taken my joy of this game away,” Luck said Saturday. “I’ve been stuck in this process, haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. After 2016, I played in pain and was unable to practice, I said I wouldn’t go through that again.
Luck missed all of 2017 with a right shoulder injury, and had been diagnosed this training camp with a left calf issue that spread to his ankle.
“It was really a shock,” Arians said of Luck’s decision. “I know he’s been struggling with this latest injury, but the last time I talked to him, he was still fired up about the year.”
Luck compiled 23,671 passing yards, 171 touchdowns, and 83 interceptions in his six seasons.