Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the sports world on Saturday night when the news broke that he was retiring from the NFL, citing the physical and mental toll the game has taken on him.
What was even more shocking was the reaction from fans who were at the Colts’ preseason game when the news broke. Videos went viral on social media of Luck being booed as he left the field for a final time as a member of the team.
Full disclosure, I am a huge Andrew Luck fan. Very rarely do you see a guy who is so talented on the field and also such a friendly and humble individual off the field. If you go across the NFL, I guarantee you will not find a single player who has anything bad to say about Luck, as a player or person. So what the Colts fans did on Saturday night is nothing short of a disgrace in my opinion.
I understand the timing of the news was not ideal. Now the team will go into the season with a definite downgrade at the quarterback position in Jacoby Brissett (no disrespect, he’s just not Andrew Luck). However, booing your franchise quarterback who kept your team relevant after the departure of Peyton Manning is extremely classless, especially when we’re talking about the nicest guy in the NFL.
If you really think about it, Luck was doomed from the start due to poor team building. He was never surrounded by a good offensive line, which led to him getting demolished by opposing teams through the first three years of his career. Yet amazingly, he never missed a game and was putting up numbers that would pace him for the Hall of Fame.
In 2015, the injury bug finally caught up with him, and his career was forever changed. Over the next three years, he missed time with a lacerated kidney, a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, a concussion and a torn abdomen muscle. Yet, he still tried his best to play through these and did a pretty good job when he did.
After missing the entire 2017 season with his shoulder injury, Luck returned and put together one of his best seasons last year, winning Comeback Player of the Year and leading Indianapolis to a playoff win. However, this offseason he was diagnosed with yet another injury, this one to his calf. After mulling over the decision all offseason, he finally decided to hang up the cleats, saying that the constant cycle of injuries and rehab took away his love for the game.
How can you boo that? The man gave up so much to the game of football, way more than he had to. He suffered through countless injuries that plagued what could have been one of the best careers in NFL history. He decided not to sacrifice any more of his physical or mental health to the unforgiving game of football, and I certainly don’t blame him.
It’s easy for people who only watch the game from their couch to call this decision “soft” because they have no idea what he has gone through. Football is a brutal sport, and it doesn’t treat everyone equally. Some players can play into their 40s while others, like Luck, have to call it quits before 30. It’s his life and his decision, and nobody has a right to critique it.
And booing the guy who did so much for your team and your city, all with a smile? That’s just not right. Luck deserved to go out on a mountain of cheers, but apparently some Colts fans only care about what he can’t do in the future rather than what he did in the past.
Luck was one of the best prospects ever to come into the NFL. He was a guy with Aaron Rodgers-like talent and a personality that could lighten up a room. It’s a tragedy that his career had to end so soon, and any Colts fan that would boo him on his final walk to the locker room really should be ashamed.
Danny Barletta is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.