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- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck shocked the NFL world this weekend, announcing his retirement from football.
- The Colts could have recouped nearly $25 million in bonuses from Luck due to his decision to retire early, but instead opted to let their former franchise player keep the money.
- The act of good will from the Colts could be seen as an attempt to keep the door open for a potential return, should Luck get healthy and wish to come back to the sport in the future.
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Andrew Luck shocked the NFL world on Saturday night as news of his imminent retirement spread throughout the league.
Luck, just weeks away from turning 30, is one of the best quarterbacks in football, but cited mental exhaustion and ongoing injuries as driving his need to step away from the game.
“I’ve been stuck in this process,” Luck said. “I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game … the only way forward for me is to remove myself from football.”
With his decision to retire, Luck is leaving hundreds of millions in potential future earnings on the table.
The news of Luck’s retirement was especially shocking due to how much money he stood to potentially make throughout the rest of his career. While he had already made nearly $100 million in his career, between the massive contracts quarterbacks are given in the modern game and possibly 10 years or more left in his playing days, Luck could have seen his next deal worth another $200 million or more.
That said, Luck was clear in his statement that money was not an issue, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, money will not be a sticking point for the Colts either. As Schefter reported on Sunday, the Colts reached a financial settlement with their former quarterback, and have opted against attempting to recoup nearly $25 million from Luck in the wake of his decision.
According to Schefter, it would have been within the team’s rights to get back $12.8 million as a prorated portion of Luck’s signing bonus, and an additional $12 million in roster bonuses that came through this March. But rather than demand their refund, the Colts have opted to let Luck keep his money, and wished him well in retirement.
While this might be a pure act of good will on the part of the Colts, it’s also possible that the decision was made with hopes that Luck might change his mind at some point down the line and return to football.
Luck has made up his mind for now, but you can never say “never” in football.
Before Luck ultimately retired, the Colts had attempted to convince him to simply take an extended break as he recovered from his latest injuries.
According to Peter King, when Luck met with Colts owner Jim Irsay to discuss his decision, the team proposed that Luck begin the season on the IR with a return designation, which would have given him the first half of the season to rest, recoup, and hopefully for Indianapolis, reassess his decision to leave football. But Luck was adamant in his thinking, telling Irsay, “”My mind’s made up.”
Still, Irsay seemed to hint at the possibility of Luck returning to the game under the right circumstances. When asked if he believed Luck would ever play in the NFL again, Irsay said, “You know, I don’t rule it out. Because as quickly as this thing sort of descended on us, and as mysterious as it was coming upon us, it could leave the same way. … I would say it’s possible.”
Irsay also cited the success that other athletes have had after taking time off from their sport and once again finding their love of the game.
“This is an unusual situation,” Irsay said. “I mean, we see Tiger Woods come back and win the Masters. We see different things, Michael Jordan retire and unretire. In this case, we just wish him the best, and maybe that he finds some clarity, and maybe – he’s just gonna be 30 years old late next summer, or right around there …”
As things stand, Luck is officially retired, and while the Colts certainly hope that he changes his mind at some point in the future, the team has also been respectful of his decision, thanking him for his years of service to the team and wishing him the best in the future.
Still, between the money the Colts left on the table, Luck’s relative youth, and the general unpredictability of football, that there is some belief that Luck may take the field again in Indianapolis.
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