OUR SPORTS WORLD
People have been all over the place on Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement. Colts players Darius Leonard and Eric Ebron applauded his decision. But Doug Gottlieb had a somewhat dismissive tweet about Luck. And Dan Dakich let him have it with both barrels. I don’t agree with Gottlieb and Dakich’s opinions, but I understand their points. With Luck, Indianapolis was a title contender. They’ve rebuilt their offensive line into one of the best in football. They’ve got weapons on offense and playmakers on defense. But now with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback, Vegas the Colts Super Bowl chances dropped from 15-1 to 35-1. He left the Colts on a ledge.
We sports fans love our sports. We fall in love with players and marvel at their skill and athleticism. We admire their dedication to their craft. And we fall harder for them when they seem to love the game even more we do. Luck is an intellectual, geeky sort who’d fit right in at Comic-Con. He stayed four years at Stanford even though many experts he was NFL ready after his third. He still uses a flip-phone and drives a Honda Accord despite his $12M base salary. He’s a just different sort of guy. And that's okay.
Jim Brown retired from the NFL because he felt that he had done everything he could do (and because he could double his salary making movies.) Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson left because they got tired of losing. Patrick Willis and Chris Borland got out of the game before potential injuries could befall them. And Ricky Williams retired because he wanted to smoke weed every day. All of those players, walked away because the sport became secondary to something else in their lives.
Andrew Luck decided that enduring through a lacerated kidney, a torn rotator cuff to his throwing shoulder, and chronic knee/ankle/foot injuries during his career was enough. The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. And that's the problem for some fans. We want our athletes to give their blood, sweat, and tears every single day on every single play. Fans want players to want it as much as they do. But some people aren't wired that way. Maybe football was something Luck did well, but didn't love. It happens. He's newly married and has his first child on the way. Things have changed for him as things do for all of us. And it's okay. It should be okay. This whole thing had to be excruciating for Luck. And if you watched his press conference, you can see how hard it was. In the end, it was his choice. Not Doug Gottlieb’s or Dan Dakich’s or Indianapolis’.
So here's to Andrew Luck for handling a difficult situation in the classiest way possible. I hope that whatever comes next for him bring him peace of mind.
And I hope he keeps using the flip phone...