The Colts’ franchise quarterback shocked the world. Did he make the right decision?

On Saturday night, most football fans were occupied with the first college football game of the season. However, the entire sports world shifted their focus to the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts when star quarterback and face of the franchise, Andrew Luck, announced his retirement from professional football at age 29 without any notice whatsoever.

First reported by ESPN’s NFL Insider Adam Schefter at 9:28 p.m. EST, the news of Luck’s retirement spread like wildfire throughout social media and news headlines. “Andrew Luck has informed the Colts he is retiring from the NFL, per source,” Schefter tweeted. “There will be a press conference Sunday to make it official, but Luck is mentally worn down, and now checking out.” Within an hour, it seemed like everyone had their own thoughts and opinions on Luck deciding to retire.

On the surface, retiring at age 29 seems very premature. Luck could have played another ten years in the NFL if he chose. The former first overall pick in 2012, Luck only played six NFL seasons. However, injuries were a constant throughout his career and seemed unrelenting.

Luck, through no fault of his own, couldn’t seem to stay healthy. Suffering eight significant injuries throughout his 86 games in the NFL, the disappointment and stress of constantly having to deal with the heartbreak of injury, missing time on the field, then rehabbing through constant workout regiments ate away at Luck both physically and mentally. “I’ve been stuck in this process. I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of the game,” Luck said in a press conference after his announcement.

As the news broke out across America, the Colts squared off in a preseason game against the Chicago Bears. Luck was in the building and stepped out onto the sideline in front of a few thousand Colts fans who had just learned of the retirement of their franchise quarterback. While he explained his decision to close teammates, fans took notice of Luck and began to boo him mercilessly as he exited the field.

This was the final time Luck would leave his team’s field, and he was met with boos from his own fans. These were the same fans who were blessed with the chance to watch this man play spectacular football through all of his difficult injuries. They couldn’t even repay him with a round of applause after all he has done for the Colts franchise and the city of Indianapolis.

 While this isn’t a representation of all Colts fans, there are certainly a large group of people who think Luck is soft for retiring or that he is giving up because he doesn’t care. To say that is incredibly naive and just flat out wrong.

Although it is certainly disappointing to see him go, you have to understand the situation he has been in and would most likely be in again. The injuries were just too much for Luck and he explained that time and time again in his press conference. By choosing to walk away from the game to pursue a new life, Luck is taking responsibility for himself and his well-being. I applaud him for that, and others should too.

There is no way this was an easy decision for Luck. He signed a six year, $140 million contract in 2016 which means his retirement caused him to leave $58.1 million on the table according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. 

The Colts were a good team with a promising future as long as Luck was in the picture. He was the glue holding the team together and he knew it. However, at the end of the day, Luck’s personal life and mental health were more important than a career dominated by rehab and pain.

To be disappointed in Luck’s decision because it means not getting to watch him play football anymore is justifiable. However, saying he’s a quitter or him giving up is wrong and narrow-minded. There was a great deal that went into this decision and it wasn’t easy for anyone. At the end of the day, I’m happy Andrew Luck made the decision that was best for him. 

 Luck worked hard his whole life to get to the level he was at and when he got to that level, he gave the game everything he had. That is what should be remembered about his career. I’m happy for him and his family. I hope he finds happiness in a life outside of the league. It took great courage to announce his retirement and that courage is a perfect reflection of how he played football.