Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed the 2017 season with a shoulder injury and was struggling with a lower-leg injury this summer, retired from the NFL Saturday, according to a stunning report by Adam Schefter.
The report said Luck was “mentally worn down.”
The 29-year-old Luck was a Pro Bowler in his first three seasons, but chronic injuries have dogged him since 2015. He played the 2016 season but had shoulder surgery after, then missed the 2017 season. While he was good in 2018, the shoulder was clearly not fully healed.
Then came the bizarre saga of his 2019 training camp. Luck missed the Colts’ camp with what was initially described as a strained left calf, but was perhaps more serious than that: the Colts cited Kevin Durant’s torn Achilles as the reason for their extreme caution with him. Then Colts owner Jim Irsay described it as a “small bone” injury, which eventually became an ankle problem.
Luck’s departure leaves the Colts in the lurch, and is perhaps the highest-profile early retirement from football in decades. Without Luck in 2017, the Colts went 4-12 and were bad enough to get coach Chuck Pagano fired. With even a lesser version of Luck in 2018, they went 10-6 and won a playoff game.
Ian Rapoport reported that the Colts knew Luck was considering retirement for “at least two weeks” and that he “plans to travel the world.”
Luck led the Colts to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons and seemed poised to take over the NFL after the Deflategate Patriots beat the Colts 28-24 in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. But it was a height Luck’s teams would never reach again, as the Colts missed the playoffs from 2015-17 and now will have Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback in 2019.