Every sports fan on the planet knows about the Indianapolis Colt’s quarterback Andrew Luck choosing to retire at age 29 due to health and mental issues. Fair or not he will go down as another Barry Sanders. Fact is Sanders retired on July 27th during training camp nearly a full month earlier than Luck. Sanders was scorned by Lions fans for years and many will never forgive him for bailing on the team when it was too late to make any meaningful alternative plans. Football is a team game first and foremost. It isn’t a group of individuals with the same goal. I’m a vet myself. Any vet will tell you when you are part of team for it to be successful, you must put the team first. Football has the same thought process even though it is just a game. The best pure football players on the planet will fail with a poor team. Look at Sanders. Always considered a great individual performer but one who played on crappy teams so he wasn’t a winner.
The question people have is obvious. What happened in the last few weeks that was so different for Luck? Why couldn’t he have made the decision during the off-season when the team, yes the TEAM again, had a chance to make a move to recover from the loss of Andrew Luck. Again, fair or not, it’s a team game and every action you take as a player affects the rest of the team. Other players reacting seem to have a common theme when responding to the news. Good for you Andrew Luck. Do what you have to do for you and your family. Your health and well being is most important. And to all the non-players commenting like me? Just shut up. We never played the game so we couldn’t understand. The same argument you hear when any layman has an opinion on any profession. However in the same sentence they will tell you each player knew the risks before they ever signed a contract so they don’t want pity. Huh. Sounds like BEFORE they signed that contract they were no different than me. They had heard about the risks but you never really know until you play the game. Point is you can have an informed opinion without actual experience.
Players need the fans. No fans, no payday. Fans have a vested interest in seeing their team succeed. Players come and go. The team goes on. Simple fact is both the players and the fans support the team. You’ll see some elite players take discounts on their value in order to free up money for the team to bring in better players. Why? Easy, they want to win. Players play to win and you only win in a team sport by having each member of the team do their part of the overall scheme. All professional team sports are predicated on fans supporting their team so everybody gets paid. Have I mentioned yet it’s all about the team?
So it may not be fair but Andrew Luck will always have the stigma of putting himself before his team. In a perfect world Luck would have seen the light at the end of last season and made the decision then. The fans would have embraced him forever in Indy as a great player, person and teammate. They would have understood despite being sad their team lost such a good player. Perhaps the takeaway is for all other players. When you weigh that decision of when to retire consider the team as well as your own personal situation. It is just as important to many people as your health and well being. Odds are Luck’s former teammates won’t be anywhere near as successful this year as a team. This affects their contracts and thus their personal well being. When football players like to say we fans are clueless about what they put their bodies through just to play the game, maybe they should recognize before they ever sign that big money contract how their exit strategy will affect the team and the fans. It’s a part of the game when you play a team sport.
I hope Andrew Luck has a great life. No disrespect at all. I’m not an Indy fan so I’m not vested in the team’s success or failure but I do appreciate what a good football player Luck was. I just know that if Sanders and Luck and any future players would give the same weight to the team as well as themselves when making their career decisions, we could avoid these situations and instead just talk about the game. Everyone is happier when we’re talking about what happens on the field instead of off it.