I was out for a late dinner with family and friends in Lafayette on Saturday night when the startling news broke.
On the three big screens surrounding us, the choices were the IndyCar race in Madison, Illinois (just outside St. Louis), the Miami/Florida game, and the Colts/Bears preseason contest — all without audio.
The sudden appearance of a red rectangle replacing the crawl, that had been running at the bottom of the college football broadcast, caught my eye. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was reporting that Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was retiring.
The notice was gone in a flash and I wondered if I had read it correctly. I mentioned what I thought I had seen to my son and fellow PT/AT, Michael. He was dubious. No such news was flashing on the bottom of the screen showing the game in Indianapolis.
However, it then re-appeared where it had originally and shortly thereafter, between every play of the Bears/Colts game, a camera was on Luck, sitting on the bench with teammates.
When I arrived home, the news was even worse. It was not just the fact that Luck had confirmed his retirement in a postgame press conference. Many of the fans in attendance booed Luck as he walked off the field.
What do you people want? Shame on you all. Would you have been satisfied only if Luck’s corpse had been carted off the field in your perverted vision of athletic glory a la the Roman Coliseum or Circus Maximus? Is this where our world of sports has descended?
That guy you were booing is somebody’s husband, son, and brother. He is recently married and soon to be a father. Perhaps those two new and most important roles drove his decision.
Whatever his motivation, he is entitled to it.
After a sprained shoulder and torn cartilage between ribs (Sept. 2015), torn abdominal muscle and lacerated kidney (Nov. 2015), at least one concussion (Nov. 2016), and a shredded shoulder that required surgery (Jan. 2017) and from which he did not return until 2018, he is entitled to it.
His current lower leg woes may seem trivial in comparison but, apparently, they were the final straw — and, as I have reported repeatedly this summer, such an injury is not all that trivial.
Calf strains take a long time to heal and rushed, they may lead to something worse.
Just ask Kevin Durant.
The basketball star is now in the rehabilitation phase of the “injury, pain, rehab” cycle that Luck complained he could not escape. He is tired of it. Who can blame Luck for his decision to limp away at age 29 before the limp became worse?
Apparently, Dan Dakich.
On Saturday, the ESPN commentator tweeted about Luck, “I have family working in steel mills ... cops ... teachers making far less and this guy is ‘tired' ... my backside.”
No doubt, those jobs can be dangerous and tiring. However, if any of those family members had suffered the litany of injuries Luck has in such a short period of time, they would probably consider retirement, too.
In a broader context, Dakich complained that the Colts and/or Luck have misled fans regarding the seriousness of his injuries and have repeatedly waited to come clean in hopes of limiting damage to ticket sales.
That is an entirely different conversation. However, if there is blame to be affixed here, it largely goes to the Colts.
When they drafted him, he was labeled the next Peyton Manning. Yet, as crucial as the quarterback position is in the NFL game, the most talented signal caller is unable to perform successfully alone. He needs the protection of a competent offensive line, which the Colts did not provide to Luck until the injuries had already piled up.
Furthermore, when he came into the NFL, Luck’s college passing prowess was nearly matched by his running ability. Manning lasted as long as he did because of his superior protection and his preference to slide rather than lower his shoulder for an extra yard. He was hardly ever touched.
Upon drafting Luck, Colts management should have unleashed the pocketbook to acquire better linemen and, upon Luck’s arrival in Indianapolis, put a leash on his legs.