WATCH: Andrew Luck's retirement rekindles heartbreaking end to Jets legend Wayne Chrebet's career
The NFL and football world was shocked on Saturday night as Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement. Luck, who will be 30 in September, decided to hang it up after only seven seasons. Over the course of his career, Luck suffered many injuries, including torn cartilage in two ribs, at least one concussion, a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, and even a lacerated kidney.
When Luck left the field on Saturday, he was showered with boos from many of the remaining Colts fans still in attendance, which is disappointing given what Luck’s done for the organization.
Former and current players immediately came to Luck's defense.
Luck’s retirement was in no way meant to screw over the Colts, it is just another grim reminder of what this sport can do to a man. In hindsight, it makes sense for Luck to retire. He doesn’t want to end up like many of the former NFL players who have had their lives significantly altered post-career thanks to their injuries.
An example of one of these players is former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet.
For those of you who don’t know, Chrebet is one of Gang Green’s all-time greatest receivers. He is third in franchise history in reception yards (7,365), second in receptions (580), and third in receiving touchdowns (41). He was clutch in big situations, which gave him the nickname, “Mr. Third Down.”
A hometown kid from Garfield, N.J., Chrebet was a feel-good story for the Jets. He came to the team undrafted out of Hofstra. Standing at only 5-foot-10, 188 pounds, Chrebet had a lot of heart and made his presence felt in the slot with his dynamic route running. He was essentially the prototype to players like Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola.
From 1995 to 2005, Chrebet was one of the all-time fan favorites for the Jets. He was inducted into the Jets' Ring of Honor in 2014. No player has worn No. 80 since Chrebet.
Yes, Chrebet brought Jets fans many great memories during his career. However, in his career, like Luck, he suffered many injuries, particularly concussions. Chrebet played four more years than Luck, but he hung it up after suffering the sixth known concussion of his professional career.
In a 2007 interview with The Star-Ledger, Chrebet said he had good days and bad days. The bad days were ones he couldn’t get out of bed. A good day to him is anything but that.
Shortly after he was inducted into the ring of honor, he said in another interview to NJ.com that things were better than after he retired. However, he still suffers from concussion symptoms that he had in his career, even having a "spotty" memory. Because of his health issues, he pondered back-and-forth on whether or not he would let his three sons follow in his footsteps and play tackle football.
It's been almost 15 years since Chrebet retired. Who knows what other long-lasting cognitive disorders will affect him in the future? Many other former players battling for their health have an idea.
Chrebet is just one of many examples of former NFL players who suffer health issues after playing. If the injuries Luck has suffered took the joy out of his playing career, imagine what more long-term damage can do to his personal life. Luck doesn’t want post-career issues that plague guys like Chrebet.
As fans, we take athletes for granted. We look at them as if they are gladiators. In reality, they are humans, just like you and I. They have lives and families at home that they need to take care of and that’s priority No. 1. If Luck wants to be healthy so he can be a good husband and father, then his playing career is just a small price to pay.
Guys like Chrebet and Luck are grim reminders of what football can do to a man. Though Chrebet is feeling the long-term effects, he does not regret playing football. However, for Luck, to keep going was not worth the pain.