On Saturday night, Andrew Luck shocked the football world when news broke that he would retire from the game.
"This is the hardest decision of my life."@Colts QB Andrew Luck announces his retirement from the NFL. pic.twitter.com/Y5QTi4sCeW— NFL (@NFL) August 25, 2019
“For the last four years or so, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab,” Luck said in an impromptu press conference held after the Indianapolis Colts’ preseason game Saturday night. “It’s been unceasing, and unrelenting, both in season and in the offseason. I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It’s taken my joy of this game away.”
And with that, Luck stepped out of the spotlight—seemingly finding comfort in what he called the “hardest decision of his life.”
Andy Reid, who has been an NFL coach since 1992 and a head coach since 1999, was asked for his thoughts on the Luck situation during his Tuesday press conference.
Andy Reid discusses the Andrew Luck news and speaking to #Colts GM Chris Ballard. pic.twitter.com/th1JmwYAZU— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 27, 2019
“I’m a big fan of his,” Reid said of Luck. “There’s nothing that he does that he doesn’t think about and put time and effort into the thought process. He would never do anything to harm the game or the team—that’s not how he rolls. This was something, I’m sure, it was was a wrestling match with yourself. We’ve all been there. Everybody’s been there and had to do something like that. Maybe not of that magnitude or in front of that many people. He’s got to do—and these guys know this—you have to do what you have to do.”
Reid then highlighted Chris Ballard, the former Chiefs player personnel executive (2013-16) who has been the Colts general manager since 2017. Reid said he talks to Ballard “all the time.”
“The great part of it is other guys pick up and they roll—Chris has done a nice job of bringing great players in there,” Reid said. “They’ve got a quarterback (Jacoby Brissett) that’s a legitimate quarterback there that was very close with Andrew. They’ll roll. That’s how this thing goes. [Luck] was great for the league, but at the same time, it’s important he has a life after this. We all love this, but there is life after that, especially for these players with their health.”
Reid’s public comments are unsurprising given his track record of being a players’ coach and one of the league’s most endeared figures. The Colts were in line to be one of the Chiefs’ toughest adversaries in 2019, yet in his quotes, Reid sounded more disappointed for his close friend in Ballard than anything else.
“I tell you guys during camp that it’s a fluid game,” Reid added. “It’s a fluid game all the way around.”
Luck finishes his career 2-1 in the regular season against the Chiefs, with four touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 84.5. Luck was 1-1 against the Chiefs in the playoffs, including his stunning comeback victory in January 2014 and what will be the final game of his career, a 31-13 loss at Arrowhead Stadium last January in the AFC divisional round. Luck finished second to Patrick Mahomes in passing touchdowns last season with 39.