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The NFL is an athletic organization that most Americans love but it comes at the expense of many athletes. Andrew Luck is one such athlete. Surprising America, Luck announced retirement from the NFL in late August, after only seven years in the league. 

After dealing with a series of injuries throughout his career, Luck decided that enough was enough. In September 2015, he suffered a sprained shoulder, which kept him out for two weeks. Later in November 2015, he suffered an abdominal muscle tear and a kidney laceration that ended his season. The following year, he suffered a concussion but played 15 games. Then in January of 2017, he underwent shoulder surgery which took him out for that entire season. He finally returned in 2018 to play 16 games in the regular season. The last straw may have been in March of 2019, when an MRI revealed an unexpected calf strain in Luck’s right leg. 

Speaking to the media, Luck said, “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, and it’s been unceasing, unrelenting, both in-season and offseason, and I felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football.”

Luck was the first overall pick in 2012 by the Indianapolis Colts. He took over the shoes of Peyton Manning, who needs no introduction himself. The organization put all their trust in him, and he didn’t disappoint, at least when he actually played.

Best-selling sportswriter John Feinstein explains, “It’s no mere coincidence that no active NFL player has criticized or questioned his decision. Those who do don’t understand how painful it is to play football at the highest level. I’m not talking about injuries, I’m talking about just playing. If you have ever stood on an NFL sideline and watched the way huge men hit one another, it is amazing anyone ever gets up.”

Tom Brady, winner of six Superbowls and someone with the complete opposite of Luck’s career, gave his input on Luck’s retirement. He said in WEEI’s The Greg Hill Showon Monday morning, “It is his life. Everyone has the right to choose what he wants to do. He had a great career, and he was a great player. Everybody wishes they could be healthy all the time. It is a contact sport, and he’s certainly had his fair share of injuries, so guys retire at different times. Some at the end of the season, and I have seen a lot of guys retire before the season gets going and this is just one of those examples.”

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Luck announced retirement when he still had $58.1 million left on his contract and a projected $450 million he would have earned with the Colts if he continued into his 30s. In 2016, he became the highest paid NFL player. There are no details on Luck’s future plans as of yet.