The Carolina Panthers just lost again.
The value of their No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft plummeted Thursday after Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck surprisingly announced that he would return to school to pursue his degree.
“I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012,” said Luck.
It’s a risky move financially to put it mildly.
Luck was a lock to go first overall in the draft. While a rookie wage scale is likely this year, nothing has been finalized. Luck spoke often about wanting to graduate and improvements he felt like he still needed to make in his game. It wasn’t just lip service. (Peter King reported as much regarding Luck a few weeks ago.)
Still, Luck seems to be at a different talent level than someone like Jake Locker or Matt Leinart who also returned for their senior seasons. By all indications, Luck’s draft stock is closer to Peyton Manning, who also returned and was still taken first overall.
Luck had another week left before he had to make the decision. We wonder if the timing of this announcement could influence Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to coach in the pros or not.
Harbaugh seems likely to leave, but there have already been a lot of surprising moments in this winding story.