Andrew Luck gave the Indianapolis Colts and their fans all that he could over a seven-year career in the NFL. In the end, Luck decided to retire due to the physical and mental toll that several nagging injuries had taken on his body.
It’s a heartbreaking story to see a player cut down in their prime by injuries. After getting over the initial shock of hearing the news, you would imagine that most Colts fans would feel sadness about Luck’s retirement and feel bad for the 29-year-old that he had to make such a tough decision.
Those in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium for Indianapolis’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears had the opportunity to express their condolences to their franchise quarterback. They had the chance to give him a standing ovation for spending close to a decade trying to bring them a Super Bowl.
Instead, they booed him off of the field
It was an appalling display. And across multiple angles filmed by different camera phones uploaded all over YouTube and Twitter, this wasn’t a loud minority of fans booing to drown out cheers; it was the majority of the crowd booing Andrew Luck off of the field.
It is understandable that the fans in attendance were angry. The Colts fell to 0-3 on the preseason and 0-2 at home with a 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears. And while Jacoby Brissett is a capable backup, he can’t compare to a Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback like Luck. Indianapolis went from a potential Super Bowl contender at 12-1 down to a 30-1 to win the championship at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
But regardless of any feelings of anger and disappointment fans may have had about losing Luck, the man is still a human being. One that has shown nothing but class to the city of Indianapolis and represented the Colts with dignity on and off the field. To boo this man off of the field was wildly inappropriate, and it’s a response that’s being (correctly) heavily criticized around the nation.
Luck explained his decision to retire after the game
After the game, with the news officially broken, Luck spent about a half-hour discussing his decision in a press conference. He officially announced that he was retiring, that it was the hardest decision of his life, and then explained the reason for it:
“For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab.” Luck told the media, “and it’s been unceasing and unrelenting both in-season and off-season. I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It has taken my joy of this game away.”
Luck took a moment to collect himself before continuing, stating that he made a vow after playing injured and not being able to perform at 100% through the 2016 season that he wouldn’t do so again. With his high-ankle issue continuing to give him problems and not healing correctly, he had to step away from the game.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear the reaction,” Andrew Luck added about being booed. “It hurt, I’ll be honest with you, it hurt.”
Fortunately the organization is showing more class than the fans
The Indianapolis Colts has the right to recoup $24.8 million on the heels of Andrew Luck’s retirement. Luck technically owes the team $12.8 million of his prorated signing bonus and $12 million in roster bonuses that he will no longer be on the roster to collect. Team owner Jim Isray is going to let Luck keep all of that money.
As Isray pointed out, Luck was showing a lot of class in leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table to retire because he knew that he couldn’t face his teammates and coaches if he wasn’t all-in. He could have gone through the motions and kept collecting those paychecks, but he knew he didn’t love the game anymore and walked away with class.
It’s too bad Colts fans didn’t show the same amount of class as he walked off the field for the final time with his teammates.