Andrew Luck, a Pro Bowl quarterback and the face of the Indianapolis Colts, has decided to retire at 29 after a career defined by wins and injuries.
Luck sustained severe injuries throughout his career. He missed nine games in 2015 and the entire 2017 season. He was working his way back from a persistent ankle injury and had not appeared in any of the team’s preseason games, including one in progress on Saturday night when the news of his retirement first broke with reports by ESPN and the NFL Network.
Luck confirmed the reports at a postgame news conference. “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live,” Luck said as he fought off tears. “It’s taken the joy out of this game. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football and this cycle I’ve been in.”
Luck, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was an instant star for the Colts, helping offset the loss of Peyton Manning, another franchise icon, who was cut by the team after he had dealt with serious injuries of his own.
Luck, who has three years remaining on his contract worth more than $64 million, said he decided to retire about a week and a half ago. He said there was no single moment, but rather a dawning reality that his injured ankle was not improving, and that he wanted to break the cycle of injuries and rehabilitation.
“The lack of progress just builds up and you turn the corner and run into another stumbling block,” he said.
Luck said he understood that people may be shocked by his decision to suddenly leave the game. But he said he felt relief.
“It felt like a weight has lifted,” he said. “Part of my journey going forward is to figure out how to get out of pain.”