Luck decided to retire from the NFL at the age of 29.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
August 26, 2019

Colts coach Frank Reich does not believe quarterback Andrew Luck let the team down by deciding to retire two weeks before the start of the NFL season.

While speaking to reporters during his press conference on Monday, Reich said he and general manager Chris Ballard addressed the team following Luck's stunning decision to walk away from the game on Saturday. Reich referenced the use of the word "paradox," adding that it helped the team make sense of the recent events. 

"On one hand, we can respect and honor the player and the teammate that Andrew is and was, but at the same time, we can share an excitement and enthusiasm about the team that we have going forward and the journey ahead of us," Reich said. "Someone asked me a question the other day, 'Is there any sense that you felt like Andrew is letting down the team?' And the answer was an emphatic no."

"Andrew did the right thing," Reich added. "He did the right thing for himself and the right thing for the team. He did the courageous thing and the honorable thing."

Luck, 29, was set to enter his eighth season with the Colts, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft out of Stanford. He led the Colts to the playoffs in his first three seasons, including the 2014 AFC Championship Game. A shoulder injury in Week 3 of the 2015 season was the first of a long list of ailments Luck has suffered since, which includes a torn cartilage in two ribs and a lacerated kidney.

Luck missed the entire 2017 season while dealing with a shoulder injury. He rebounded with a fourth Pro Bowl year in 2018, where he threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns while leading the Colts back to the playoffs.

Currently battling a high left ankle injury that was first diagnosed as a calf strain, Luck ultimately decided to make "the hardest decision of my life," and announced his retirement in an emotional press conference Saturday night.

"I’ve been stuck in this process," Luck said. "I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game. After 2016 when I played in pain, and wasn’t regularly able to practice, I made a vow I wouldn’t go down that path again. The only way forward is to remove myself from this cycle. I came to the proverbial fork in the road, and made a vow if I ever did again I would choose me, in a sense."

Reich concluded his presser by voicing his confidence in new starter Jacoby Brissett, who the coach said took 1,200 first-team reps this offseason.

"This team is just getting started and this locker room is special," Reich said. "We believe that our players will rise to the occasion."

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