Drew Pierce is a junior journalism news major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Drew at email@example.com.
On Saturday afternoon, former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck held a press conference and gave some news that would shock the Indiana sports community and the internet at large.
The reason for Luck stepping down and leaving millions of dollars on the table comes down to preserving his long-term health. If thinking about your own health and safety is soft, then should an athlete exhaust his or her body until there's no sanity left? Luck left on his own terms because it is his life at play.
“For the last four years or so, I have been in this cycle of injury pain, rehab, injury pain, rehab,” Luck said in the press conference. “The only way I see out [of the cycle] is to no longer play football. It has taken my joy of this game away.”
Following the sudden announcement, fans and commentators came out of the woodwork to criticize Luck’s decision. It seemed easy for a person sitting on the couch at home to call Luck “soft” or “weak.”
Fox Sports Radio host Doug Gottlieb had the audacity to say on Twitter that “Retiring cause rehabbing is ‘too hard’ is the most millennial thing ever.”
This tweet implies Luck is soft because he is a part of the Millennial generation. Because he is not completely ruining his body to play in the league longer, Luck is a weak person. Give me a break.
The NFL culture is changing whether you like it or not. It seems every year we are seeing the long-term effects of playing professional football for years. Suicide, CTE, memory loss and more are plaguing retired NFL athletes. Luck said enough is enough before it gets out of control.
Luck’s long list of injuries includes a concussion, partially torn abdomen, torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, lacerated kidney and various leg injuries that have popped up throughout his career.
This is not a decision Luck wanted to make. To think he wanted this to happen is disingenuous.
“It is very difficult,” Luck said in the press conference. “I love this team. I love my teammates. Because of how I feel, I know that I am unable to pour my heart and soul into this position.”
Luck’s wife, Nicole Pechanec, is pregnant with the couple’s first child. He is stepping down knowing that he really wants to be present for himself and his family for as long as he can.
Real Luck fans do not boo him as he walks out of Lucas Oil Stadium after making the hardest decision of his life. Real fans look past the game and see that a man in shambles getting help is more important than playing a game.
There was no more fun. The passion was gone. The money remained, but at what cost? Luck’s livelihood is more important than paychecks. Andrew Luck, I applaud you.
Contact Drew Pierce with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @dpierce3cc.