On Saturday, Andrew Luck announced his retirement to an encore of boos from Colts fans. The day has come for Luck to finally give into his body’s fondness of injuries and hang up his playing boots. For almost everyone, this came as a massive shock. Unlike Rob Gronkowski’s retirement earlier in the year, there was no rumours or leaks indicating what was about to unfold. I plan to take a look at why he needed to retire, why he got booed and where the colts go from here.
It is easy to see why he is sick of playing. He missed 26 games over the course of his 6 seasons career. And it’s even easier to see why that was. In his rookie year after being selected first overall in the 2013 draft, he was sacked 41 times. He matched that figure again in 2016 while playing one less game. In total, he averaged over 2 sacks per game. With that kind of exposure, he was always open to getting injured. But it wasn’t just the opposition defences that caught him in the end, it was the snow slopes. He sprained his AC joint but states that this wasn’t a factor in him missing the 2017 season. The reason he missed the year was down to a labrum tear he has been dealing with. Weather it was or it wasn’t the deciding factor, it was clear that Luck’s body was not liking the abusive relationship he was having behind the Colt’s offensive line. This offseason, Luck was dealing with an ankle/calf issue (not really clear to be honest). As the team’s franchise quaterback, Luck would have experienced massive pressures to get back healthy as soon as possible and return to last year’s form.
I suppose we need to address the boos from the Colts fans. I don’t think fans hold any hatred against Luck. They understand his reasoning. Or at least I hope they do. They just hate the timing of the announcement and the implementations of it. Basically, the Colts go from a AFC championship contending team to a team that may or may not make the playoffs. This offseason, the hype train surrounding the Colts Superbowl chances has been huge. And now, two weeks before the season starts, that dream has never looked farther away. If this had happened in March or May, then the Colts had time to plan. Now, all they can do is scramble.
And scrambling means they will start the season with Jacoby Brissett at QB. Chad Kelly will fill in as back up after he serves his two game suspension. Although both have upside on their day, neither are remotely close to the talent that Luck possesses. When selected a quarterback first overall in the draft, you need to make it count. And the Colts thought they had that. He was the answer to the post Manning period they were entering and this year was to bear the fruits of that. They now need to find a new quarterback to build around. It is unlikely to see the Colts having the number one pick in the draft for a number of years with their talent in the squad. Without tanking, they need to look to trade for a quarterback with potential or trade up in next year’s draft. The issue with these options is that the short term results might not be pretty.
Personally, I believe you can’t force someone to play no matter the pressure on him or the contract he has signed. It’s clear Luck’s injuries had too great an impact on his mental health. And if that is the case, he made the right call to retire. Many people would not have done the same and for that I respect his decision. It is disappointing to lose such an exciting talent and all round nice guy within the league but if the time is right, the time is right. He can finally snowboard to his heart’s content and not have to worry about the consequences.