Of the many layers and levels to the sudden decision by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to retire from the NFL at age 29 is this: Could Andrew now go to work for his dad?
Oliver Luck serves as the Commissioner of the XFL, a spring league that launches in February and that simply will not survive if it can’t attract or create star players. If Oliver Luck could persuade his boss, Vince McMahon, to dangle the money that Andrew would have made in Indianapolis plus maybe more over the next few years for a 10-game season against a lower level of competition, would he bite?
It would be as shocking as his decision to retire from the NFL. But, then again, he decided to retire from the NFL.
Andrew Luck wouldn’t be able to play for the XFL without the blessing of the Colts. Paragraph 3 of the Standard Player Contract makes clear the ability of the team to go to court to block the effort of a football player to play football for a different league: “Without prior written consent of the Club, Player will not play football or engage in activities related to football otherwise than for Club or engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury. Player represents that he has special, exceptional and unique knowledge, skill, ability, and experience as a football player, the loss of which cannot be estimated with any certainty and cannot be fairly or adequately compensated by damages. Player therefore agrees that Club will have the right, in addition to any other right which Club may possess, to enjoin Player by appropriate proceedings from playing football or engaging in football-related activities other than for Club or from engaging in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.”
In English, this means that, for as long as the Colts retain Luck’s rights (and they surely will not release him from the reserve/retired list anytime soon), they can quickly and easily go to court to get an order preventing him from playing for the XFL.
It’s entirely possible that the Colts secured a renewed commitment from Luck to the notion that he can’t play for the XFL as part of the negotiated financial settlement that reportedly has him owing the Colts none of the $24.8 million Luck has been paid but technically didn’t earn. Indeed, it would have been foolish for the Colts not to have sought that commitment before agreeing not to seek repayment.