Andrew Luck made the right call

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has decided to step away from football, for good reasons

Jack Kirk, Sports Editor

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Over the weekend, one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the NFL shocked the world when he announced his sudden retirement from the league. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is only 29 years old, and there was a lot of hype around him and his team, some thinking they were Super Bowl contenders. But with injury problems for the past five years or so, he decided to step away just two weeks before the start of the season. And I could not respect his decision more.

There are countless accounts of retired NFL players that live the rest of their lives in pain, and die early due to lingering brain injuries like Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). So looking at a player who decided that they wanted to live out the rest of their life with as little pain as possible is admirable. He is only 29 years old, so he has a whole life ahead of him. He’s made millions of dollars in his seven years in the league, and if he spends his money right, will be financially stable for quite a while. So giving up a few more years playing football to have good health for the rest of his life sounds like a good deal.

In the press conference announcing his retirement, Luck said that this was the hardest decision he had ever made in his life, which was evident in how emotional he was at the podium. It was very clear that he once had a lot of passion for the game, but that passion is gone. If there is no joy in what you are doing, and you feel you can safely step away and consider other options that are going to bring him joy, that’s a good thing. He’s clearly an intelligent individual who knows the game of football like the back of his hand. With his knowledge, he can follow a similar path to former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and become an analyst or announcer. Just because his life on the field is over doesn’t mean his life off the field is over as well.

I feel like Luck is setting a great example for not only his peers, but for young players as well. A lot of young athletes in their teenage years look up to professional athletes and try to emulate some of their best traits. Many young basketball players have tried to adopt the “mamba mentality” from Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, which he describes as constantly trying to be the best version of yourself.

Luck, an elite quarterback that has been named to four pro bowls in his relatively short career, has a similar influence on young football players. He is showing them that even when you make it to the NFL, football isn’t what defines you as a person, and it isn’t everything in life. You can step away. If you don’t enjoy it anymore, or injuries are making it hard for you to get into the game the same way you used to, you are not trapped. He now has decades ahead of him to do something else he loves.

His decision also shows that even if you do make it into the league, make sure you have a quality education or some sort of skills outside of football that you can use. Luck has a degree in architectural design from Stanford, so he has a backup plan. He actually stayed in college for an extra year just to get that degree, even though he was projected to be a top draft pick that year. He knew football was not guaranteed, so he planned accordingly and set himself up for the rest of his life.

Many people heard about Luck’s decision and disagreed with it, some even mocked or ridiculed him. Frankly I think that it is extremely ignorant to look at a man who is valuing his health and well-being over his career and tell him he is making a bad decision. He was even booed out of a preseason game when the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd heard the news, by the same fans that Luck put his body through hell for.

He took a step back, assessed the ramifications of staying in a profession that he no longer had the same passion for, and would further damage his already injury-riddled body, and decided that it was best for him and his family to walk away. Luck is also expecting his first child, so that must have made him really do some soul searching and make some choices about his future. So to boo that man, and ridicule him, even though you have no idea the wear and tear that football players’ have week in and week out during the season, just shows that you have no care for the people under the helmets, as long as they bring your favorite team success.

There is a reason there is only 16 games in 16 weeks in a football regular season, while there are 82 games in the NBA season and 162 in the MLB season. Almost every play you are getting hit by professional athletes, then you have to get back up and get hit again a minute later. Most of these people who are against Luck’s decision would not last a minute out on that field, let alone seven years. He went through all those years of it in the pros alone, not to mention the years in college and before that he played. If you don’t fully understand what someone has been through, don’t cast judgement like you know what is best for them.

I wish nothing but the best for Andrew Luck in whatever decides to do, and I appreciate the years he put into the league and the moments he created for the fans. He is a man who can make his own decisions, and I feel like he made the right choice instead of the easy one in this case. He doesn’t need football to be worth something, and I’m glad he understands that. And I hope that the next kid who loses their passion for whatever sport they play, due to injuries or whatever, can learn that from Luck.