When Andrew Luck suddenly announced his retirement, it was met with everything from scorn to praise. Some people, namely fans and media, saw the quarterback’s retirement as a sign of weakness and a disservice to both the fans and Indianapolis Colts. Others, especially fellow football players saw it as a sign of strength.
Luck saw what the game was doing to his mental and physical health and knew it was time to walk away. T.Y. Hilton was one of the players who supported Luck. He took to Twitter to dedicate his game to his former teammate.
T.Y. Hilton’s tweet
Luck’s retirement shocked even the most casual NFL observers. After all, it wasn’t long ago that the team willingly parted with legendary quarterback Peyton Manning in favor of Luck. His historic rise, injury-ridden fall, and last year’s comeback season worried Colts fans. But everyone assumed the quarterback had a few more years in him.
It didn’t take long for Hilton to let Luck know exactly where he stood. Within hours, the wide receiver tweeted a collage of photos and an inspiring message. While Indianapolis fans may have booed Luck off the field, Hilton doubled down on his support of Luck’s decision as well as his love for the quarterback and best friend.
Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton’s friendship
Hilton knew about Luck’s decision before almost anyone. Because of this, he didn’t watch the speech. According to Hilton, the friends shed tears as they had a heart-to-heart about Luck’s future in the NFL. According to the Indy Star, Hilton used the words “best” and “friend” throughout his talk with the media following the announcement, stating there were, “a lot of emotions. A lot of cries. A lot of ‘I love yous’ and a lot of hugs.”
Luck and Hilton were long believed to be a tandem of the future if they could just get healthy. Now, their best possible days are a question of what could have been. Hilton didn’t elaborate on their talk, keeping the details between friends. Despite the emotional departure, however, the two have some good memories to look back on.
Past, present, and future
Luck and Hilton entered the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts in the same season. The wide receiver didn’t get the keys to the franchise as early as Luck, but Hilton was on the field with his friend nearly every game. By the time Hilton was a full-time starter, he was also a four-time Pro Bowler. To date, many of his 8,184 receiving yards and 42 touchdowns were made possible by Luck’s arm.
Although the Colts lost their first game without Luck, things weren’t all bad. New QB Jacoby Brissett threw 21-for-27 for 190 yards and no interceptions. It wasn’t his first go-round as a starter, although his near-full season as a starter during Luck’s 2017 injury was nothing to write home about. Hilton himself had 87 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Time will tell about the long-term fallout of Luck’s departure. Regardless, it’s clear he made an impact on his teammates. Hilton may not have his friend nearby, but perhaps the knowledge that it is a new era can help the Colts develop going forward.