Andrew Luck's surprise decision to retire from football at age 29 continues to reverberate in the world of sports and beyond. The Indianapolis Colts QB played six seasons but said he could no longer deal with the endless cycle of injury and rehab that he said made life on and off the field miserable. A sample of coverage:
- The cost: Columnist Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post figures Luck just walked away from at least $250 million in future earnings. The former No. 1 pick had a few years left on his current contract and would surely have a huge new signing when it ended. Brewer isn't criticizing, though. He calls the decision "wise." Mike Garafalo of the NFL Network does the math and suspects the total might be closer to $500 million.
- The injuries: Start with "torn cartilage in two ribs, a partially torn abdomen, a lacerated kidney, at least one concussion, (and) a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder," per Zak Keefer of the Athletic. Then came a recent "mysterious calf-ankle issue" that had sidelined him this preseason.
- The stats: A post at FiveThirtyEight takes a look at Luck's impressive, if short, career when compared to others, and finds that "it is exceedingly rare for a quarterback of Luck’s caliber to leave the game before age 30." Using its metric of "Approximate Value," the site finds that Luck is in the same range as Tom Brady, John Elway, and Joe Montana in terms of performance through age 29.
- Smart: Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal also is praising the move. "What Luck is doing here is the rational move," he writes. "He knows all the stories of retired players living in physical and mental anguish; as the son of an NFL quarterback, he probably knows more of them than we do." And all the fans who booed him this weekend may want to consider that the average football career is now just three years.
- A critic: Not everyone is so understanding. "Retiring cause rehabbing is 'too hard' is the most millennial thing ever," tweeted Doug Gottlieb, who hosts a radio show on Fox Sports. That prompted a fast, angry reply from former NFL QB Troy Aikman. "That’s total bull--- Doug. What qualifies you to decide how someone should live their life? So you’re now the authority on what motivates Andrew Luck? And if his decisions don’t fit into what you think is best for him then you rip him? Guess that keeps you employed on FS1."
- Still hoping: One person who hasn't given up on Luck playing football again is Colts owner Jim Irsay. "We’ve seen Tiger Woods come back (from injury) and win the Masters; we’ve seen Michael Jordan retire and unretire (twice)," says Irsay, per the Indianapolis Star. "In this case, we just wish (Luck) the best and maybe that he finds some clarity. Again, he’ll just be 30 years old." The story notes that, down the road, Luck would only have to inform the league that he'd like to come back and the Colts would still retain the rights to his contract.
- Brady gets it: "It is his life," said Tom Brady, who at 42 remains among the league's elite players. "Everyone has the right to choose what he wants to do." Brady, speaking Monday on WEEI, noted the physical toll of the game and credited his "support system" of teammates, coaches, his trainer, and family for helping him go as long as he has, per NFL.com.
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