J.J. Watt: Andrew Luck’s retirement decision “takes an immense amount of courage”

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Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt knows the toll that injuries can take on a football player. And he’s had his own moments of wondering whether it’s worth it to endure the demands of surgery and rehab, only to walk right into the fray and welcome more surgeries and rehabs.

So he understands why the quarterback Watt has been chasing for much of his career has decided to walk away, only a few weeks before turning 30.

“He’s an incredible competitor,” Watt told reporters regarding Luck on Saturday night, after a preseason game against the Cowboys. “I’ve loved playing against him. I think it takes an immense amount of courage, an immense amount of self-reflection and a lot of guts to do what he’s doing. I’m sure people have their ways of looking at it and their ways of trying to say what they would do in his shoes, but the truth is, nobody’s in his shoes. Nobody has had to go through what he has had to go through. Nobody has been through the rehab and injuries. Everybody sees game day. They don’t see the offseason. They don’t see the Monday through Friday and doing whatever he possibly can to get his body ready for the game. I respect the hell out of it. It takes a whole lot to walk away from a ton of money like that, an organization like that. I respect it. I’ve had a couple of injuries myself, so I know somewhat what he is going through. To be able to make a decision like that, that’s a tough one. I know he’s probably wrestled with it for a very long time. I wish him absolutely all the best.”

Watt elaborated on having made it through the worst football has to offer — the injuries.

“It’s brutal, because you know what you are capable of [when healthy],” Watt said. “He probably knows that as well. There are so many people that want you to be who you can be and want you to be great and want all these things and you want to be all those things for those people. The funny thing is that’s the way it goes. Everybody has their opinions and all these different things. It can have the ability to suck the fun out of the game. Like I said, I wish him absolutely nothing but the best, because he made the best decision for him. And that may not be popular and that may not be what people say they would do in that spot, but he has a whole life to live. You have to remember, you have a whole life to live after you are done playing football and he made the choice that that’s the best decision for him. Like I said, that’s not easy.”

It’s definitely not easy. And it’s definitely an intensely personal decision. Instead of being mad at the players who choose not to play, decisions like Luck’s should make us all appreciate even more the men who choose to keep doing it, year after year and injury after injury until they reach the point where someone else makes the decision that it’s over.

23 responses to “J.J. Watt: Andrew Luck’s retirement decision “takes an immense amount of courage”

  1. No one should be mad at Luck for retiring, but I completely understand being mad about the timing. Unless the Colts are lying, which wouldn’t be the first time they’ve lied especially about injury stuff, Luck waited until ten days before week one to announce he was retiring. That is pretty selfish.

  2. Andrew Luck is such a bright young man. He’s a Stanford educated kid, and his dad was a Rhodes scholar. Playing football is fun when you’re one of the best in the business, like Luck was. Sitting in the trainer’s room rehabbing year after year is just a waste of a precious life. Luck recently married his longtime girlfriend, and they’re expecting a baby soon. Luck is a perfectionist, and I know he wants to be a perfect husband and father. He’ll have so many career opportunities. His dad is the commissioner of the XFL. Andrew could be the next NFL commissioner. I do see a very bright future for this young man. Football is brutal, and lots of the guys playing don’t really have other career options that pay millions. Andrew Luck does.

  3. Very true. People booing felt, I guess, that they should not have had the decision sprung on them, but at the same time, everyone has a breaking point. Maybe getting hurt again, before the season even started, was Luck’s, and he just couldn’t do it anymore.

  4. The Indy fans booing was classless. They have no idea what Luck as been through or dealing with now. These athletes want to be at there top best and Luck has had to rehab more than playing lately. Good luck to him and his courage to walk away.

  5. Lick is soft and just retired w a high ankle sprain. When he missed the 2017 season w a torn labrum it was because of a snowboarding accident of his own doing. Now he’s missed all of camp because of a leg injury again he suffered in April away from the team. These aren’t terrible football injuries he suffered ON the football field. Every single player in the NFL goes thru this same exact process of rehabbing and so on. He just quit on his team and all his teammates w only 2 weeks before the regular season. If he did this during offseason before draft and let his team know his thoughts so they could’ve planned ahead for this. Just happy he wasn’t on my team

  6. The Colts are still miles better and closer to competing than the Lions are without Luck!

  7. I agree with J.J. Why do people think they know so much about other people’s situations. Why would someone say Luck is being selfish when they don’t know what happened. Would it have been better for him to retire the dsy of the 1st game or the 2nd game or when you think it was appropriate for his life. He did what he felt was best at the time. Why can’t people just be respectful of other people???

  8. I remember being struck when I read the story about his “lacerated kidney.” I had never heard of that happening from a football injury before. It seemed very extreme/scary. I know he recovered, came back, and that it’s his calf injury that’s the problem, I just don’t see how anyone could question his decision, or his fortitude.

  9. Luck has an engineering degree from frickin’ Stanford. While he may have come from better financial means than most, there are plenty of student-athletes who didn’t enjoy that benefit yet still earned a full ride to institutions like Stanford, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, etc. Use the system…b/c the system is using you.

  10. If this was any other star too 5 player at his position in the NFL who retired in his prime because of the traumatic pain and rehab coming back from a high ankle sprain just 2 weeks from opening day the internet would be killing said player. But instead it’s goofball Andrew Luck and the dude who quits on his team takes his ball and goes home just days before the season starts and he is the one garnering sympathy is ridiculous. Lol

  11. It’s ridiculous to blame a bad Oline for all his injuries. 2 of his major boo boos came outside of football. The guy is brittle and was tired of his body breaking down. End of story. I don’t blame fans for reacting like that while getting the news at a 3rd preseason game. We all would be in shock and annoyed the moment we heard our star QB was walking away 10 days before the season started. It’s his right to call it quits, and it’s also every Colts fans right to process that monumental decision as it relates to their passion for rooting on the Colts.

  12. Andrew Luck wasn’t tough? Give me a break.
    The guy finished a game with a lacerated kidney for Pete’s sake.
    He’s got nothing to prove regarding toughness, and he doesn’t owe Colts fans (myself included) a darn thing. He gave Gronk a run when it came to laundry list of injuries for a young career. Granted, the timing of his decision sucked and I get fans frustrations, but to boo him is pretty lame and speaks more of those individuals than Luck himself.

  13. Notice Russell Wilson who came into the league with Luck never made excuses about his poor offensive line.

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