Luck’s retirement was startling but understandable

If you scroll down the page, you will see the headline on my recent story about Andrew Luck’s injury history: Luck’s chronic injuries could make for a shortened career.

I just didn’t expect it to be that short.

Luck startled the football world Saturday night when he announced he was retiring after just seven years.

Yet the decision made perfect sense. He’s been dealing with serious injuries for four years, constantly rehabbing all year round, and it simply has taken too much of a toll on him.

It might seem hard to believe he could walk away from the game and millions of dollars, especially since he grew up in football as the son of quarterback Oliver Luck.

He said he still loves the game, but the injuries wore him down. Luck was spending more time dealing with injuries than actually playing the game.

Unfortunately, Luck heard boos when he left the field for the last time Saturday night. But then, fans are fans.

Still, I don’t think Luck is the start of a trend. Players suffer a lot of injuries, but few deal with them four years in a row. And it is difficult for players to walk away from the game.

There are four things, though, to note about what his departure means:

–The NFL is right to having so many rules to protect the quarterback. Even with all the protections, quarterbacks often take a brutal beating, and it’s a loss to the game to lose a franchise quarterback in his prime.

–The second is that when a team gets a franchise quarterback, it has to put a lot of emphasis on getting an offensive line to protect him. He took too many hits because the line wasn’t good enough.

–Coaches have to stress the quarterbacks getting rid of the ball quickly and feature a short passing game. Luck often held the ball too long, especially when they tried to run deep passing plays, and that made him vulnerable to too many hits.

–The Colts made a smooth transition from Peyton Manning to Luck. Now they have to try to win with Jacoby Brissett, who is not in the same league with Manning and Luck. With Luck, they were a playoff contender. Without him, they probably aren’t.  

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