By Justin Efebera
Football season is finally back, and with each upcoming season there are storylines that shake the football world. This happened last weekend as Adam Schefter on ESPN reported that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was retiring. Even worse, the news broke in the fourth quarter of the Colts preseason game against the Chicago Bears. The announcement came as such a surprise that even some Colts players had to be told by the equally unsuspecting fans. The sudden news prompted a barrage of boos from the fans as Luck was leaving the field after the game. This seemed out of line for the fans given the years of service Luck has given to the franchise, not to mention the severe punishment he has taken from opposing defenses throughout those years due the Colts lackluster offensive line. In his career since being drafted first overall in 2012, Luck has been sacked 174 times. These hits have caused him injuries that cost him most of the 2016, and all of the 2017, season. It was only until last year that the Colts gave Luck a formidable offensive line. Behind them, he threw for over 4500 yards and 40 touchdowns.
So, despite his injuries, ranging from torn cartilage in his shoulder to concussions, Colts fans had a lot to be optimistic about this coming season. From a fan standpoint, one can understand the immediate frustration and anger when news of Luck’s retirement broke out during a preseason game taking place two weeks before the start of the NFL regular season. It’s not the fact that Luck retired that had Colts fans upset, it was the timing and lack of notice. Although Luck had spoken to management prior to the announcement about his decision, expectations for the Colts have now significantly dropped. The new starter, Jacoby Brisset, has shown promise filling in for Luck as well as in his previous stint with the Patriots, but he is still largely unproven, and frankly, not close to Luck’s level.
This news comes as just another reminder of the dark side of football and the punishment players take and endure at all levels. As Luck stated in his retirement speech while fighting back tears, “I’m in pain, I’m still in pain.” In a moment where so many were angry at him for his decision, they got to see his humanity, vulnerability and emotion shine through. Luck made it clear that he had to make a decision for his future, even if it was one without football, stating, “For me to move forward in my life the way I want to, it didn’t involve football.”
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org