On this day in 2019, Andrew Luck chose to call it quits. The quarterback still had about a decade left in the league but felt his time was up. The decision came as a surprise to many, but it was one the Indianapolis Colts had to get on board with.
What ultimately led to Luck's retirement and how have the Colts fared since?
Throwback: Andrew Luck retired two years ago today
Coming out of college, Andrew Luck was one of the best NFL prospects available. The Colts were at a crossroads with Peyton Manning and the timing seemed right for the Colts to move on from Manning's then-fragile neck to Luck's potential. Manning only had a handful of years left in the NFL while Luck was a promising project.
The Colts ultimately picked Luck in the NFL draft and let Manning go.
Luck went on to win the most games in a rookie year as a first overall pick in NFL history, according to ESPN. The Colts went 11-5, made the playoffs and lost in the Wild Card round. He threw for 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions that season.
Luck then went 11-5 in his second season and threw for 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The team lost in the divisional round of the playoffs but the growth was measurable.
His third season saw yet another 11-5 record. While the team was just as good at winning, Luck found a new gear. 2014 ended up being the best year of Luck's career; he threw for 40 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. However, a storm was brewing.
The Indianapolis Colts had a notoriously shoddy offensive line, which caused Luck to take big hits more often than he'd like. It caught up to him in 2015 and in a big way. That season, Luck sprained his shoulder and only ended up playing seven games. In those seven games, the team went 2-5.
On the surface, it seemed that Luck was largely over the hump with injuries. Sure, he got banged up in 2016, but he played all 16 games and threw for 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. However, Luck was constantly in pain and the season was a massive grind for the quarterback.
According to SB Nation, Luck went in for surgery to repair his shoulder, which was one of several injuries nagging him. It seemed that it would be a quick tuneup but the shoulder never fully healed. It ended up costing Luck all of 2017.
By 2018, Luck was fully mended and seemed over the hump once again. The rehab process to fix his shoulder was a long and grueling nightmare for Luck. That, in combination with all of the other injuries he had suffered, drained him.
That said, 2018 went off without a hitch, and Luck went 10-6, throwing for 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Colts, though, were ousted in the divisional round of the playoffs. After so many short playoff runs, Colts fans were hungry for a deeper push.
In the summer of 2019, Luck suffered another injury. This one was a high ankle sprain and seemed somewhat minor compared to what he had been through before. However, the memories of the shoulder injury were fresh in Luck's mind.
Ultimately, the quarterback decided enough was enough and he could not go through any more rehab sessions.
With his health in mind, Andrew Luck retired from the NFL. His retirement was a shock felt around the league and the biggest story of the preseason. Colts fans were outraged. They had gone from having Super Bowl aspirations to residing in quarterback purgatory within minutes.
The news broke during the preseason game and Luck was booed off the field as a result.
How have the Colts fared post-Luck?
Shortly thereafter, he called a press conference and rode off into the sunset. Since then, the Colts have pivoted rather cleanly. After an understandably shaky season, they landed Philip Rivers and were right back in the playoffs in 2020. However, Rivers also retired and the Colts have now placed their hopes on Carson Wentz.
Wentz is also facing injury issues as he works back from a foot injury. Will their new quarterback bring stability back to the franchise or is he also on the path towards a sudden retirement? Guess we'll have some answers this year.
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