In the most shocking development of the NFL offseason, Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck will retire from the NFL.
Luck was seen on the sidelines of the Colts' preseason game Saturday night, where he was booed by Colts fans. He then confirmed the burbling news reports during a postgame press conference. The injuries he battled throughout the past few seasons had simply taken too big a toll on his psyche, he said.
"I felt stuck and the only way out of it is to no longer play football," Luck said. "It's taken my joy away from the game."
Andrew Luck's shocked the world, so Will Brinson, John Breech, Ryan Wilson and Sean Wagner-McGough fired up an emergency Pick Six NFL Podcast to break down ever conceivable angle from the news. Can Luck be considered a bust? Who is to blame here? What does this mean for the Colts in fantasy and their win total for 2019? Listen in the player below and subscribe to the podcast here.
Luck appeared overcome with emotion as he read prepared remarks, visibly bearing the weight of both his words and his decision, which he called the hardest of his life. He singled out former teammates such as Robert Mathis, who he noted was the best teammate he ever had, and Jacoby Brissett, who he called an awesome dude with a bright future. Luck also said that he was jealous of how happy and content Brissett appeared at the facility when they returned for the offseason program. He later apologized to his mother for wearing a ratty t-shirt during the press conference, and noted that he at times had to pinch himself last season due to how much fun it was to play for Colts coach Frank Reich.
This photo from @hoIIaback is heartbreaking...— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 25, 2019
I hope he finds his joy pic.twitter.com/hLQAI4XteP
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck has battled injuries throughout his seven NFL seasons, most recently a lingering calf issue that held him out for much of the offseason. Luck led the Colts to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons before the injury issues began in earnest. He battled rib and shoulder issues for much of 2015 and 2016, then sat out the entire 2017 season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Luck returned in 2018 and, after a slow start, looked very much like his former self for much of the year.
The calf issue cropped up earlier this offseason, but the Colts had been insisting that Luck would get back on the field at some point. It instead appears that he will not play another game for the team.
The #Colts thought Andrew Luck would be full-go within the first week of camp from his calf/leg issue. But he never felt comfortable, mentally or physically. The tone shifted in the past couple weeks. Now, Luck plans to walk away at age 29.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 25, 2019
Luck at times lived up to his billing as a star quarterback, and at others came up short of that status. At his best, he was an electric talent who could make any throw on the field, and also use his legs to create plays outside the pocket and down the field. But he took a lot of punishment throughout his career, playing behind one of the league's most porous offensive lines early in his tenure.
He battled through a lot of hits early on and seemed indestructible at times due to his size and strength, but he eventually wore down both physically, and apparently, mentally.
Physical toll on Andrew Luck through 6 NFL seasons:— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 25, 2019
» Torn cartilage in 2 ribs
» partially torn abdomen
» a lacerated kidney that left him peeing blood
» at least 1 concussion
» a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder
» and this mysterious calf/ankle issue that led to this
In the wake of Luck's retirement, the Colts' starting quarterback will presumably be Jacoby Brissett, who was acquired from the New England Patriots in a trade prior to the 2017 season. Brissett started 15 of Indianapolis' 16 games in 2017, completing 59 percent of his passes at an average of 6.6 yards per attempt, while throwing for 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The Colts went 4-11 in those games, eventually landing the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.
Outlooks on the Colts obviously dim considerably without Luck in the picture. Most sports books had the Colts expected to win the AFC South, with a win total over-under set at 9.5 at Westgate Superbook. However, while many books closed betting for the night on the Colts because of the news, FanDuel released an updated win total number of 6.5.
SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh expects the team to drop off, and to thus shake up the AFC South race. Here's a look at how Oh projected the AFC South race on Sunday morning, compared to his projections on Saturday, prior to the news of Luck's retirement and Lamar Miller's torn ACL:
|BEFORE||WINS||WIN %||DIV %||PLAYOFF %|
|AFTER||WINS||WIN %||DIV %||PLAYOFF %|
Meanwhile, CBS Sports fantasy analyst Chris Towers offered analysis of the injury's impact on fantasy football teams:
The last time the Colts played without Andrew Luck, things fell apart. It won't be that bad this time around, with Jacoby Brissett having spent a few more years in the system and by all accounts developing into a solid option. Still, you have to downgrade the likes of T.Y. Hilton and Marlon Mack, who fall into the No. 2 range at their respective positions. Eric Ebron, already a regression candidate, joins the crew of touchdown-or-bust options at the end of the No. 1 tier at tight end, with a quarterback who isn't going to get the team into the end zone nearly as much. As for the rest of the supporting cast? There probably isn't much reason to worry about Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell, or Jack Doyle outside of deeper leagues.
For a more detailed look at how this news affects the fantasy season, Fantasy Football Today's Dave Richard has a full column here and recorded a new podcast with Heath Cummings here.
As for Luck, he ends his career with 23,671 passing yards, 171 touchdowns, and 83 interceptions, as well as a 53-33 record as a starter and four Pro Bowl appearances, including last year. The 2018 season was perhaps Luck's best yet, as he completed 67 percent of his passes while setting career highs in passing yards, quarterback rating, and QBR. His 39 touchdown passes were also one off the career high he set in 2014.
Despite that performance, his decision to retire was not entirely unpredictable. Outlook on the calf injury had been muddled by seemingly contradictory comments from team officials in recent weeks, and Saturday night reports indicate the Colts were not stunned by the turn.
The #Colts have known that QB Andrew Luck was seriously mulling retiring for at least two weeks. He’s married, he plans to travel the world, and once the love for the game waned, it sounds like he wanted to step away. So, he did.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2019
Once billed as the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, Luck eventually was the reason the Colts franchise moved on from the legendary passer. After Manning missed the entire 2011 season due to injury, the Colts landed the No. 1 pick and elected to take Luck and waive Manning, who went on to star and win a Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos.