The 2019-20 NFL football season is starting out unexpectedly for the Indianapolis Colts. Football starting quarterback star, Andrew Luck, announced his retirement from the Colts football team and the NFL at age 29. Many people are attributing his retirement to the current and past injuries Luck has sustained throughout his career, but others believe he is suffering from mental health issues.
Luck’s career began when he was recognized as an All-American while playing college football at Stanford. It progressed when Luck was the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Luck signed with the Colts and has played with the team for six years, leading them to three playoff appearances. This success has established Luck as one of the greatest professional athletes to end their career at such a young age.
Torn cartilage in two ribs, a concussion, and a lacerated kidney are just a few of the physical injuries Luck experienced in his six years of professional football — the list goes on and is enough physical trauma for any person’s lifetime. Currently, Luck is suffering from a calf and ankle injury, which could have contributed to his decision to retire.
There hasn’t been much said about the state of Luck’s mental health. However, while playing a professional sport can take a physical toll on the body, the stress of staying in shape, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet and fearing impending injury can adversely affect mental health. This would take a toll on anyone. I think many professional athletes suffer from this constant regimen and don’t get to live as they want or do things they want to be able to do.
Another aspect that I believe contributed to Luck’s retirement was a recent announcement he made on June 14. He announced that he and his wife, Nicole Pechanec, were expecting their first-born child. This is important information because it has been known to be incredibly difficult to maintain a family when you are a professional athlete and have to dedicate several hours of time in the day to your job.
Serena Williams, a leading American Women’s Tennis superstar, has stressed this numerous times, saying things like she would be pregnant if she weren’t working, or, once she had a child, that she would retire from tennis altogether if she had another baby. Professional athletes have to dedicate so much time to stay committed to their career — that is time spent away from their personal lives and their loved ones.
Luck also just recently got married in March, and I believe that he wants to settle down and be able to give all his time to his new wife and, soon, his baby. Retiring from the NFL would give Luck the opportunity to do just that, and was probably an important factor in his decision.
Luck opted out of his contract with the Colts by retiring and in doing so, forfeited $58 million. If Luck were to continue his football career he could have potentially made up to $450 million in future salary. Quarterbacks in the NFL are able to play past age 40, like 42 year-old football star Tom Brady who is still considered to be in his prime. This is exactly why the retirement of Luck has been so astounding, and even disappointing, to Colt and football fans alike.
On April 9, Luck spoke at a press conference that released and finalized his retirement. He stated that retirement wasn’t necessarily in his original plans but that had changed. He also touched on the fact that his retirement from football was the only way to end a cycle he was experiencing in his life with injuries. Lastly, Luck said that it was the hardest decision he had to make in his life, but that he had to do it because it was right for him.
Luck’s legacy leaves behind arguably the best offense that he has been a part of during his tenure as a Colt. Luck leaves the unique bond developed with wide receiver T.Y Hilton, the type of bond any fan would want their quarterback to have with his wide receiver. Luck also leaves an entire organization in panic, as his retirement comes at a tough time for the Colts, who kicked off their regular season just two weeks after Luck’s announcement. This is the first of its kind for a player as talented as Luck, at his age, to retire so prematurely. The Colts replacement for Luck is potentially Brian Hoyer or Jacoby Brissett. No matter the replacement, they have big shoes to fill.