Pro athletes are human beings, too

Written By Mason Strawn, For The Globe

Rest in peace to all the Fantasy Football teams that had Andrew Luck as their starting quarterback this year. The Colts Pro-Bowl gunslinger officially retired on August 24, at the age of 29, in one of the most shocking moments in the football world since All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions retired in 2016 at the age of 30. Luck pointed out his injuries as his reason for retiring, stating that he “still had a life to live with his wife and children.”

Several other NFL athletes have done this in the past, but none this popular or beloved. Luck was a Pro-Bowler four times in his career and won Comeback Player of the Year just last season, after coming back from a brutal shoulder surgery that sat him down for the entire 2017 season.

As someone who once owned an Andrew Luck jersey as a kid and watched him make the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2014, I was upset to see him retire. He was on track to become a hall of famer, and gave the Colts the chance at a deep playoff run and a dark horse for a trip to the Super Bowl. It leaves a disappointing taste in my mouth, as well as in the citizens of Indianapolis – disappointing enough that things have started to get ugly in the Circle City.

News broke during the Colts’ Preseason game in Indianapolis on Saturday, as Luck was walking into the tunnel toward the locker room, fans started to rain down boos on their former QB after hearing their season may be going down the drain. I understand the feelings these people have, especially those that were calling for refunds to their season tickets after realizing Luck would not be with the team now, lessening the Colts chances of a playoff push.

But for some of these fans to have the audacity to boo someone that has taken on multiple injuries and sacrificed so much for their team, it has baffled me. It’s understandable why a lot of fans would be upset; the Colts are a team that had relied on him for the last seven years, and now had their best chance at Super Bowl since 2014 when they were put down by the New England Patriots. Many want to finally see another ring come to Indy, and now their chances have slimmed down a bit, with Jacoby Brissett, who started in place of Luck during the 2017 season, at the helm of a still strong Colts team.

What many need to understand is that Andrew Luck is human. He believed his body couldn’t take anymore punishment in his career, and if you have seen some of the injuries this guy has sustained (such as a lacerated kidney, yes, you read that correctly, he was tackled so hard he injured his kidney) you’d understand why he’s stepping away. Several of his teammates have backed him up on his retirement, and even if it does slim down the Colts’ championship chances, fans need to understand that he’s doing what he thinks is best for him. That’s what matters most.