by Cale Clinton
THIS WEEK IN ANDREW LUCK
LUCK'S OFFICIAL STATEMENT
"This certainly isn't how I envisioned this or planned this, but I am going to retire. This is not an easy decision, honestly it's the hardest decision of my life, but it is the right decision for me. For the last four years or so I've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab. It has been unceasing and unrelenting both in season and in offseason, and I've felt stuck in it, and the only way I see out is to no longer play football."
-- These were the opening words to Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's retirement press conference. ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news late Saturday night while the Colts played their third preseason game. (NFL via Twitter)
"There was an uncertainty, an apprehension. I was scared, scared in my core, in my insides. There was a time I was very scared about football, and about my place in football."
-- The Athletic's Zak Keefer reported that Luck had previously considered retirement after the long recovery following a 2017 shoulder injury. (Zak Keefer, The Athletic via Twitter)
REACTIONS FROM THE COLTS
"Every time i think about it, Tears start to flow. No one understands you like i do. Our bond is one of a kind. I've decided to dedicate my season to my BEST FRIEND. I Love You 12. #Luck2Hilton"
-- Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton posted an emotional farewell to his longtime quarterback. Hilton has dedicated his season to his teammate of six years. (T.Y. Hilton via Twitter)
"Someone asked me a question the other day: Was there a sense that Andrew is letting down the team? The answer was an emphatic no. [The injuries] sucked the passion, the joy and the fun out of football [for him]. And so Andrew did the right thing. He did the right thing for himself, and he did the right thing for the team, knowing the requirement and the commitment that's needed for the journey ahead. He did the courageous thing and the honorable thing."
-- Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich refutes any idea that Andrew Luck "quit" on the Colts by retiring so young and so close to the 2019 season. (Zak Keefer, The Athletic via Twitter)
"That was bulls**t, just plain and simple."
"It was disrespectful. He didn't deserve that."
"Yeah, it sucked."
-- Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly, cornerback Kenny Moore II, and linebacker Darius Leonard spoke out against the Colts fans who rained boos down on Luck as he left the field during the fourth quarter of Saturday's preseason game. (Mike Chappell, FOX59 via Twitter)
"That was a good roster, and this is a good roster. Jacoby is no slouch. He's a damn good quarterback."
-- Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri compares this roster situation to that of the 2001 Patriots. Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was removed from a Week 2 game with a sheared blood vessel, leading to Tom Brady's first start with the Patriots. Vinatieri believes backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett can rise to the occasion just as Brady did in 2001. (Zak Keefer, The Athletic via Twitter)
REACTIONS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE
"Much love to my fellow Texas brother. Stiil remember our time together as Heisman finalists and how we laughed about almost being teammates at Stanford. The decision was only yours to make and I'm glad you have found peace in it. Respect"
-- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III gives love to Luck in a farewell Tweet. Luck and RGIII competed against one another for the Heisman Trophy in 2011, then were drafted back-to-back with the top two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft. (Robert Griffin III via Twitter)
"I think it takes an immense amount of courage and 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's had to go through what he's had to go through. Nobody's been through the rehab and the injuries. Everybody sees gameday, but they don't see the offseasons, they don't see the Monday through Friday, doing whatever he possibly can to get his body ready for the game. I respect the hell out of him."
-- Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt gives praise to his AFC South rival while also providing perspective on the effort Luck has put in to rehabbing his many injuries. (Daniel Gotera, KHOU via Twitter)
"At some point you gotta start thinking about being a fully functioning human for your family. They deserve a dad who hasn't lost his mind to concussions. Our wives deserve not having to be our nurse for the rest of our lives. They deserve a fully functioning human in their lives"
-- Retired tight end Martellus Bennett posted a long Twitter thread discussing the human side of football and the need for a focus on a life after the NFL. Bennett retired from the NFL to pursue a career in animation and children's literature. (Martellus Bennett via Twitter)
"How dare Luck not sacrifice his body for MY entertainment. Who cares if your shoulder is too messed up to pick up your child. Who cares if your knees are too messed up to play with your kids. Who cares about the quality of YOUR life, what about the quality of MY Sundays?"
-- Retired wide receiver Doug Baldwin reacts to Luck's retirement with an emphasis on fans bemoaning the retirement in favor of personal entertainment. (Doug Baldwin via Twitter)
"He's a good player. I didn't see that [coming], but I haven't really followed them. You know, we all have to make our decisions, he made his. I respect it."
-- New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gives praise to Andrew Luck in a way only Belichick can. (Doug Kyed, NESN via Twitter)
THE WORST POSSIBLE ANDREW LUCK TAKE
"Retiring cause rehabbing is 'too hard' is the most millennial thing ever"
-- FS1 talking head Doug Gottlieb saw the opportunity to zig where everyone was zagging, and it spawned arguably the most awful take of Saturday night. (Doug Gottlieb, FS1 via Twitter)
"That's total bullsh*t Doug. What qualifies you to decide how someone should live their life? So you're now the authority on what motivates Andrew Luck? And if his decisions don't fit into what you think is best for him then you rip him? Guess that keeps you employed on FS1. Nice"
-- Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman teed off on Gottlieb within minutes of him sending the original tweet. (Troy Aikman via Twitter)
"I stand behind [Troy Aikman] and every word he said. Don't criticize a man until you've worn his cleats. If you've never strapped on the pads you have no business commenting on something you know nothing about."
-- Hall of Fame running back Bo Jackson continued the pile-on with a quote tweet of his own. Jackson famously left football behind to play baseball after winning the Heisman Trophy. He returned to the NFL, but only played four seasons after suffering a career-ending hip injury on a seemingly routine tackle. (Bo Jackson via Twitter)
A SOLDIER'S FAREWELL
"Dearest mother —
The quill has never felt more heavy. I have made the decision to holster my sidearm permanently. I shall battle no more. The decision is difficult, but, as the hogs taught me, I must be true to myself. I am coming home to care for you and the farm.
-- The sad, final Tweet from the always reliable Capt. Andrew Luck Twitter account, saying goodbye to his troops as they continue their march to Bowl Valley. (Capt. Andrew Luck via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN OTHER SUBJECTS
ANTONIO BROWN: BIG FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS FAN
"Men lie, women lie, but the analytics don't."
-- Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown uses the old "numbers never lie" turn of phrase to explain his greatness on HBO's Hard Knocks. (The Action Network via Twitter)
BAKER'S GONNA BAKE
"I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones. Blows my mind. … Some people overthink [what makes a good quarterback]. That's where they go wrong. They forget you've gotta win."
-- Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield didn't have many kind words for New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones during an interview with GQ. Mayfield continued that he's shocked Jones' middling record at Duke led the Giants to draft him sixth overall. (GQ Magazine)
"Yeah I've seen him play, watched him in college, and a little bit last year. He's a great player, he can throw it, I enjoy watching him play."
-- Daniel Jones may not be a starter in the NFL yet, but he's already a veteran at the podium. (Sports Illustrated)
"This is not what I said. … Just so we're clear, I also said I was surprised I got drafted number one. Then was talking about the flaws in evaluating QBs. Where I brought up winning being important. Reporters and media will do anything to come up with a good click bait story. Heard nothing but good things and wish nothing but the best for Daniel."
-- Baker eventually took to Barstool Sports' Instagram comments to clear the air and clarify his comments about Jones. (Adam Schefter, ESPN via Twitter)
Reporter: "Before you want to talk about the first half, I do want to bring up Josh Gordon, because you put out a statement earlier today. Anything you'd like to add?"
Bill Belichick: "No."
R: "Not at all?"
BB: "No, that's why we put out the statement."
-- New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has already begun his age-old practice of stonewalling reporters for more information. This particular moment came during halftime of the Patriots' preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, the same day that wide receiver Josh Gordon was relieved of an indefinite suspension and was set to rejoin the team. (Dov Kleiman via Twitter)
SHORT, SWEET, AND TO THE POINT
"They got their ass kicked."
-- Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians kept his answer simple when describing the less-than-stellar performance of the Bucs' offensive line against the Cleveland Browns. The O-line allowed four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, while the team also coughed up two interceptions and two lost fumbles.
FULLBACKS CRAVE CONTACT
"The biggest collision I ever had was like two years ago I think. Me and Myles Jack, we were running like an iso play, and we just f*cking collided. And you kinda get your head bounced back, seeing stars. … First of all I felt like my head was just like totally a different shape. And I looked at him and we were like 'F*****************ck!' Both of us dapped each other up, and I end up running off the field, and I take off my helmet and checking that my head isn't a different shape. Turn my facemask around and it was just f*cking caved in. Like my whole facemask, so I got to keep that."
-- Green Bay Packers fullback Danny Vitale talks about the hardest hit he's ever laid as a lead blocker on the play. When asked what even happened on the play, Vitale responded, "Hell if I know!" (Pardon My Take via Twitter)
KIDS THESE DAYS
"He doesn't get fazed. ... As far as his mental makeup, not much bothers him. Except, I think, losing at Fortnite. He doesn't take that very well."
-- Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said rookie quarterback Kyler Murray handles his losses well … in everything except Fortnite. (Darren Urban, AZCardinals.com via Twitter)
"I wish I wouldn't have done it. Obviously, we saw what happened, and obviously, it ruined a friendship. I just got caught up in emotion and the heat of the battle."
-- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger laments over the entire Antonio Brown saga in an interview with NBC's Michelle Tafoya, saying that he had ruined a friendship by openly calling the player out during the season.
"Never friends just had to get my ends…shut up already"
-- Brown, now with the Raiders, kept his response brief. (CBSSports)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
QUINNEN WILIAMS IS A MAN OF THE PEOPLE
These kids spotted Quinnen Williams on the bus and really got him to Facetime them 😂😂 @QuinnenWilliams
(via jacobjcohen/IG) pic.twitter.com/A9YXb6t6er
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) August 30, 2019
-- A couple of fans ran into New York Jets defensive end Quinnen Williams after he had already boarded the team bus, but they still got the chance to talk to him via FaceTime.
FOR THE BRAND
-- Former Indianapolis Colts punter and ambassador for all things special teams delivers the news to Indiana kicker Nate Snyder that he has just received a full scholarship to play football.
A THING OF BEAUTY
-- Former wide receiver Chad Johnson was fully driven to tears by the route-running abilities of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams.