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Don't Be Mad at Andrew Luck For Doing What's Best For Him

Andrew Luck retired from the NFL Saturday night after battling injuries for four-plus years. Luck entered the NFL as the league’s next big thing in 2012, and exits it as a cautionary tale of insane talent offset by horrific injury. He has earned the right to retire on his own terms.

Luck was booed by Indianapolis Colts fans Saturday night after his shocking retirement announcement. While knee-jerk reactions from fans shouldn’t drive our sports conversations, I think its instructive to discuss them here. Colts fans reacted as if Luck’s move was something that came out of nowhere, when in reality, it’s clear he’s made this move after an agonizing decision.

Just watch his retirement press conference:

That’s not a man who is doing something off the cuff or out of nowhere. That’s clearly a 29-year-old man who has been to four Pro Bowls but has dealt with so many terrible injuries he’s decided it’s time to move on.

As Zak Keefer of The Athletic pointed out, here’s the list of injuries Luck has had to deal with over the past few seasons:

Remember, this is a guy who has a degree from Stanford. He is married with a kid on the way and has been open about his desire to see the world. If he’s over the daily grind of the NFL, can you blame him?

I spent nine year in Indiana, I get how passionate that state is about sports. I was there when Peyton Manning was a god, then wound up being pushed out just before Luck was drafted. The wunderkind quarterback was supposed to replace Manning and lead the Colts back to Super Bowl glory as Peyton was clearly on the downside of his career. Luck was the guy. And now he’s not.

For years Luck suffered behind a horrific offensive line, as the Colts failed to provide adequate protection for him up front. The hits he took led to a ton of injuries, before the franchise finally decided to invest in blockers up front over the past few years. By that time, it was too late, Luck’s body had broken down and fallen apart.

It’s clear Luck isn’t happy he has to retire. That said, he feels like his body and mind can no longer take the strain of the NFL. He absolutely has the right to do so. We know the toll football can take on bodies these days and every player has the right to walk away when he wants.

For Andrew Luck, that time has come and we should all respect his decision and even applaud it.