John Steigerwald: Andrew Luck has perspective many adult male NFL fans lack
Good for Andrew Luck.
He has had enough of football and officially announced his retirement at a news conference Saturday. Lots of Indianapolis Colts fans took it personally and booed him as he was walking off the field that night.
Many of the boos came from grown men wearing jerseys with Luck’s name on the back. A video of another mental giant burning his Luck jersey went viral.
Just a few more examples of why lots of American men need to grow up. Luck got what he needed from football, beginning with a scholarship to Stanford.
Remember: Luck was the guy who decided to stay in school for his senior season when he could have declared for the NFL Draft and gone in the first round after his junior year.
He’s the son of Oliver Luck, who set passing records at West Virginia, was drafted in the second round by the Houston Oilers in 1982 after being a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and is a member of the Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
So he has a pretty good grasp of the concept there can be life after football.
His dad was commissioner of NFL Europe, athletic director at West Virginia and was named commissioner of the XFL a few months ago.
There’s a good chance grown men wearing Luck jerseys and taking his retirement personally might be taking football too seriously.
They might also have trouble grasping the idea an NFL quarterback might have a life that centers around something other than football or pleasing them and producing points for their fantasy teams.
Here’s what Luck said at his news conference: “For the last four years, I’ve been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury. It’s been unceasing, unrelenting both in season and off season. I felt stuck in it, and the only way I see to get out of it is to no longer play football. I can’t live the life I want to live moving forward.”
He also could have said, “And I’ve already made $47 million, how much more do I need?”
But he has too much class.
Believe it or not there are star athletes who can enjoy being a star and also can live without it.
Ask Barry Sanders.
He walked away when he was less than 1,500 yards from becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Lots of Detroit Lions fans took that personally, too.
Sanders was tired of losing. He understood it’s only football, even if lots of fans and many in the media were not understanding.
I’d say ask Jimmy Brown, who also quit at 29, after leading the NFL in rushing, to become a different kind of star.
He co-starred with Raquel Welch in “100 Rifles.”
Luck was dealing with a leg injury this summer after missing the 2017 season with a shoulder injury and being named Comeback Player of the Year last season.
He has had concussions and a lacerated kidney.
Did I mention he’s already made $47 million?
It’s really kind of surprising, when you consider how much money NFL players are making, that more don’t do what Luck did.
The grown men in the Andrew Luck jerseys are having a tough couple of days. They’ll have to decide whether to keep wearing No. 12 to honor their hero or to punish Luck by finding a new one.
Jacoby Brissett now is the man in Indianapolis. Is he worthy of a jersey?
Or maybe they could take a cue from the 29-year old Luck, gain some perspective and hang up their jerseys, too.
After all, it’s only football.
John Steigerwald is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.