I don’t care that Andrew Luck ruined your fantasy football team. I don’t care that you think he’s abandoning his team. I don’t care that you think he should have toughed it up. What I care about is that Andrew Luck just did the unprecedented and it could change the future of the NFL.
Andrew Luck just retired at the age of 29, after only seven seasons in the NFL. Luck’s career was plagued with serious injuries including a shoulder injury that affected him for multiple seasons, even missing the entire 2017 season. Luck was able to thrive despite these injuries but was never able to shake his injury prone status, even starting this 2019 offseason with a calf injury that has kept him sidelined since May.
The social media storm that followed Luck’s decision was massive. Luck faced a lot of backlash for his early retirement. Many people said he was being selfish, was making a mistake or that he was abandoning his teammates.
However, many people came to his defense, saying he was making a brave choice. What got lost in the back and forth of Luck’s decision was how his choice could affect the future of the league and how players view their careers.
Luck didn’t just retire early, he retired before he even turned 30 and after he had a monster season. He lead the Colts to a 10-6 record in 2018, throwing for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns with only 15 interceptions, the highest QBR of his career. To retire just weeks before the start of the 2019 season does seem ridiculous when you look at just stats alone.
But here is the bottom line, Luck knows his body better than any of us. The guy is one of the more physical quarterbacks in the league and has taken a lot of bad hits. He decided that his life would be better off without football. For him to do that in the peek of his career tells players around the league that it is okay to care more about your health then winning or losing a game.
True fans know that this decision to come from Luck really means something as well. Not only is the guy one of the stars of the league, he is one of the ultimate competitors. That’s known league wide. Luck has always been the most competitve guy out there, yet he was able to make this incredibly hard decision.
My hope is the rest of the league sees this as an opportunity to learn. I hope players realize they are more than just athletes and don’t have to risk their health over a game. I especially hope the league officials see this as an alert they’re falling behind when it comes to player health and changes need to be made quick.